-- Action Alert --
Could “Food Safety” Bills Impact Your Access to Local and Organic Food?
Did you know Congress is considering legislation that could:
• Put small farmers out of business?
• Strictly regulate and enforce how food is grown?
• Mandate animal and food identification systems?
• Create a federal registry of all U.S. food production facilities?
• Threaten our access to organic food?
Under the auspices of “food safety,” six bills currently in Congress seek to radically restructure our current food laws by creating an unprecedented massive-scale federal regulatory bureaucracy controlling all U.S. food production, agriculture, manufacturing, processing, packaging, and distribution. Prioritizing regulatory identification, surveillance monitoring, tracking, traceability, and punitive consequences of animal and plant food production over food safety education and standards, HR 875, HR 759, HR 814, HR 1332, SB 425, and SB 510, will mandate federal jurisdiction over the entire U.S. food system.
Additionally, these “one-size-fits-all” regulations will benefit the largest industrialized agribusiness operations, while severely impacting and putting many small farms and farmers out of business.
What Are These Bills?
• HR 875 Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
• HR 759 Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act of 2009, John Dingell (D-MI)
• HR 814 Tracing and Recalling Agricultural Contamination Everywhere Act
• SB 425 Food Safety and Track Improvement Act
• SB 510 Food Safety Modernization Act
• HR 1332 Safe FEAST Act of 2009, Jim Costa (D-CA)
See reverse for details on four of the bills, or go to www.govtrack.us (plus bill number) for full bill text.
We Need Your Help - Take Action Now!
1. Learn about the specifics of these bills and alert your family and friends of the dangers.
2. Contact your Congressperson, Senators, specific bill sponsors (above), and Henry Waxman, Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce at (202) 224-3121.
• Express your concern about these overreaching legislative attempts to control our food and ask them to read the legislation in its entirety if they haven’t already.
• Ask how these food safety proposals will impact the conservation, organic, and sustainable practices that make diversified, organic, and direct market producers different from agribusiness.
3. Alert and mobilize local farmers and food producers to tell them about these bills.
4. Find out who sits on your state’s agriculture and farming committee and contact them about your concerns. (In CA go to www.assembly.ca.gov/acs/newcomframeset.asp?committee=53.)
5. Check out: www.cornucopia.org, www.ftcldf.org/index.html, http://sustainableagriculture.net/, www.foodandwaterwatch.org, www.westonaprice.org/localchapters/index.html
“Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.”
- Henry Kissinger, 1970
Proposed “Food Safety” Bills
HR 875 - Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009
• Establishes and grants unlimited authority to the “Food Safety Administration (FSA)” under the federal Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). This central food regulatory body would have even more unaccountable control than the FDA.
• Eliminates state food sovereignty by transferring all state control over food regulation to the federal FSA and reduces state and local governments to enforcement agents and food police for the federal government. (Section 207)
• Reclassifies all farms as “food production facilities” under the regulatory, inspection, and compliance protocols of the FSA and their undefined “food safety requirements.” (Section 3)
• Allows for violation penalties of up to $1 million dollars and/or ten years in prison.
• Creates such broad-based legislation which is lacking in specific criteria for maintaining “food safety,” that potentially every aspect of growing or producing food can be made illegal. (S. 206)
• Expands the definition of the word “contaminant” for purposes of widening the scope of what constitutes “adulterated food.” (Section 3)
• Bill was introduced on Feb. 4, 2009 by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), whose husband at one time, as a lobbyist, consulted with Monsanto.
HR 759 - Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act of 2009
• Overhauls the entire structure of the FDA.
• Extends traceability record keeping requirements that currently apply only to food processors to farms and restaurants – and requires that record keeping be done electronically.
• Calls for standard lot numbers to be used in food production.
• Instructs FDA to establish production standards for fruits and vegetables as well as “Good Agricultural Practices” for produce. (Sections 104 and 419A)
• Requires food-processing plants to pay a registration fee to FDA to fund the agency’s inspection efforts.
HR 814 - Tracing and Recalling Agricultural Contamination Everywhere Act
• Calls for a mandatory food identification system. “Shall require each article of food shipped in interstate commerce to be identified in a manner that enables the Secretary to retrieve the history, use, and location of the article [food] through a record keeping and audit system or registered identification.” (Section 414A[b])
• Establishes a traceabiliity system “for all stages of manufacturing, processing, packaging, and distribution of food.” (Section 414A)
• Calls for a mandatory animal identification system, including cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, mules, and poultry, etc. (Section 26[b])
• Requires traceability of “each animal to any premises or other location at which the animal was held at any time before slaughter.” (Section 26[a][A])
• Requires traceability of each animal product “forward from slaughter and distribution to the ultimate consumer.” (Section 26[a][B])
S 425 - Food Safety and Track Improvement Act
• Establish a traceability system “for all stages of manufacturing, processing, packaging, and distribution of food.” (Section 414A [a])
• Requires “each article of food shipped in interstate commerce to be identified in a manner that enables the Secretary to retrieve the history, use, and location of the article through a record keeping and audit system, a secure, online database, or registered identification.” (Sec 414A)
• Legislation mandates electronic record keeping.
Organic Sacramento, March 22, 2009