"FOOD SAFETY" BILL PASSES HOUSE
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act Passed on Tuesday, with a vote of 215 to 144. It will now be sent to the President, who has promised to sign it.
The bill created vastly increased layers of regulations which threaten small and organic farmers and food producers. It gave the FDA increased powers, such as the power to detain foods if they have “reason to believe that such article is adulterated or misbranded.” The FDA has already demonstrated its willingness to interpret “adulterated” to mean record-keeping violations. And they have interpreted “misbranded” to mean a producer making a completely true statement about the product but without FDA permission.
This bill did not address the real causes of food safety concerns: overcrowding of animals in CAFO’s (Confined Animal Feeding Operations), leading to infectious diseases, the spillage of contaminated CAFO sewage into waterways leading to downstream vegetable growers, thus contaminating that produce, the use of toxic herbicides and pesticides, and the danger of GMO’s.
The bill contains traceback provisions to respond more quickly to outbreaks of disease from tainted food. Responding faster to outbreaks caused by an unhealthy agricultural system is akin to parking an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, for faster transport to the hospital, rather than putting a fence at the top of the cliff by moving our food system to healthy methods?
Of the total 215 Yea votes, 205 were Democrats and 10 were Republicans. Of the total of 144 Nay votes, 8 were Democrats and 136 were Republicans. 74 did not vote. Go to http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2010/roll661.xml to see the list of Yea and Nay votes.
Some Republican legislators indicated their displeasure with the Testor Amendment, which NHFA supported for at least giving some exemption to small farmers from some of the onerous regulations. Republican legislators also voiced displeasure with the increase of federal power given to the FDA, the requirements that farmers be registered to produce food, and the power given to the FDA to set farm production performance standards. Rep. Frank Lucas said this is the first time we have the federal government prescribing how to grow our crops, and that “this bill will do nothing to make our food safer but it will do plenty to keep federal bureaucrats busy.”
To listen to the debate on the floor of the House of Representatives, go to http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/HouseSession3982. To hear the comments of Rep. Frank Lucas, GOP ranking member on the Agriculture committee who is slated to be Chair of that committee next year, go to the five hours and 31 minutes point on the above link (5:31).
Thank you to all of you who have contacted your legislators over these months. We lost this battle. But in the process, we educated many legislators and their aides, that can affect future decisions about food safety, and we will continue the groundswell of consumer activism to preserve our health freedom and our food freedom.
You are a part of that groundswell that is life-giving and transformative. Make communicating your vision for health freedom and food freedom to your elected state and federal legislators part of your normal way of life! Together we can change the face of health in this country and our world.