By Rady Ananda
Various organizations have posted their analysis of what the impact would be from S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, which was moved out of committee yesterday, for a full vote by January 17, 2011. Drawing only from those which oppose S. 510, below are summaries of some of those analyses, along with a link to contact your Senators:
Senator Tom Coburn, MD (Oklahoma), “Detailed Concerns“
Expense: The total cost of the bill is over $1.6 billion over 5 years. Of these costs, $335 million are for non-FDA programs.
Bureaucratic Expansion: There is already significant overlap in food safety activities conducted by the USDA, FDA, EPA, and National Marine Fisheries Service [and Fish & Wildlife Service], leading to ineffective implementation.
Burdensome New Regulations: Many provisions give FDA sweeping authority with significant consequences: performance standards, record-keeping, food-specific production standards, and overly-punitive measures, along with new fees, all work together to overly burden the small producer.
The bill “doesn’t fix the true underlying problem.”
S.510 presents a major threat to
- the local food movement,
- States’ autonomy to regulate food, and
- America’s ability to be self-sufficient in food production.
S.510 will significantly increase the power of FDA, an agency which has stated on public record that the American people have no ”fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health” and “do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish”.
FDA’s failure to exercise its current powers hardly justifies rewarding the agency with expanded authority in the aftermath of the egg recall and peanut butter fiasco.
Moreover, FDA has proven itself untrustworthy to operate in the best interest of the American public as seen in allowing the non-therapeutic use of antibiotics in animals and its lax policy regarding genetically modified foods.
Solve the real food safety problems–the centralized food distribution system and imported foods–and not regulate our local food sources out of business.
Today, the Associated Press put out some world-class propaganda claiming that “Some small farms would be exempt from government efforts to prevent foodborne illness under a Senate agreement on food safety legislation.” The article claims a last-minute deal was struck to allow small farms to “avoid expensive food safety plans”:
“The agreement brokered by [Jon Tester of Montana] would allow farmers who make less than $500,000 a year in revenue and sell directly to consumers, restaurants or grocery stores within their states or within 275 miles of their farms to avoid expensive food safety plans required of larger operations.”
That all sounds well and good, but it only exempts them from having to submit food safety plans, not from inspections that they get billed for, licensing requirements with expensive quality controls, product confiscation without cause or recourse, and even armed raids. We’ve already seen all of these ugly faces of food fascism unfold in America, from armed raids to product seizure, though no one had become ill.
The bill essentially transfers authority over food regulation enforcement from the FDA to the Department of Homeland Security who brought us the liberty-killing, child-molesting TSA.
Finally, this bill will do nothing to protect the public from foodborne diseases, because it does nothing to fundamentally change the factory food production methods that allow them to fester.
►S.510 is dangerously broad without proper checks to prevent abuse of power;
►It imposes a one-size-fits-all set of regulations that would drastically burden, to extinction, basic natural and organic food suppliers, thus endangering the lives of Americans who depend on local wholesome foods;
►It does not address the real causes of food safety issues stemming from the industrialized food supply chain; and
►It ensures that international trade agreements have supremacy over local laws.
Tea Party Patriots call S. 510 “Dangerous Intrusions: First the TSA and now the FDA.”
Go to www.farmtoconsumer.org/stopS510 to use the online Reject S.510 petition to send a live email to your Legislators and local newspaper editor.
Tell your Senators to protect local foods and vote against S.510.