12/21 UPDATE: House passed food bill, goes to Obama to sign.
On December 19, the Senate passed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA, formerly S.510) as an amendment to H.R. 2751.
The House had previously passed FSMA as an amendment to a spending bill, H.R. 3082; Senate Democrats were not successful in advancing this version of H.R. 3082 and a subsequent amended version of 3082 which still included FSMA failed as well.
By unanimous consent without a recorded vote, the Senate passed FSMA after substituting its language in H.R. 2751, one of the “Cash for Clunkers” bills originating in the House in 2009; H.R. 2751 was sent back to the House where it could be voted on as early as Tuesday.
This is the last chance to defeat the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. People need to contact their Representatives now!
Tell your Representative to Vote “NO” on H.R. 2751 and stop the “FDA Food Safety Modernization Act”.
STEP 1 – Send a live fax message to your U.S. Representative through the online petition at www.farmtoconsumer.org/stopS510
even if you’ve already used the petition, send a message again.
STEP 2 – Call your U.S. Representative and be sure to give your zip code
Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121; ask to be connected to your Representative’s office. OR
Go to www.Congress.org; enter your zip code on the right side under “Get Involved” and click “Go”. Click on your Representative’s name then click the “Contact” tab to get office phone number(s).
A shorter link to the petition is www.ftcldf.org/stops510; more information is posted there.
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act is fundamentally flawed and is not in the best interest of small farmers, especially those who produce raw milk. The Act is a major threat to the local food movement.
1. FDA does not respect individuals’ rights to obtain healthy, quality foods of their choice. The agency has stated as a matter of public record, that:
“There is no absolute right to consume or feed children any particular food.”
“Plaintiffs’ assertion of a ‘fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health, which includes what foods they do and do not choose to consume for themselves and their families’ is similarly unavailing because plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish.”
FDA has even participated in armed raids on small-scale co-ops and membership organizations. This agency should not be given any additional power.
2. FDA has adequate powers under existing law to ensure food safety and effectively deal with foodborne illness outbreaks. FDA has power to inspect, power to detain product and can readily obtain court orders to seize adulterated or misbranded food products or enjoin them from being sold. The problem isn’t that FDA needs more power; it’s that FDA does not effectively use the power it currently has. The agency has power to inspect imported food yet inspects only 1% of food coming into this country from outside our borders.
3. The Act does nothing to address many significant food safety problems in this country, such as those resulting from confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and various contaminants (e.g., BPA, pesticides, herbicides, etc.).
4. FDA has used its existing power to benefit the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries at the expense of public health (e.g., allowing the overuse of antibiotics in confined animal feeding operations and refusing to require labeling for genetically-modified foods). This Act does not address the fundamental problems at this agency in order to truly protect public health.
5. The Act will expand FDA’s involvement in regulating food in intra-state commerce, further interfering with local communities. State and local governments are more than capable of handling any problems related to food in intrastate commerce. All the major outbreaks of foodborne illness involve either imported food or food in inter-state commerce.
6. The Act will hurt our ability as a nation to be self-sufficient in food production because it has more lenient inspection requirements for foreign than domestic producers creating an unfair advantage for food imports. Giving an advantage to foreign producers will only increase the amount of food imported into this country that does not meet our domestic standards. The Act does not address food security–the ability of a country to produce enough food to meet its own needs.