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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Reaping What You Sow...

House Bill 875 (HR 875), the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, purports to

To establish the Food Safety Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services to protect the public health by preventing food-borne illness, ensuring the safety of food, improving research on contaminants leading to food-borne illness, and improving security of food from intentional contamination, and for other purposes.

Sounds okay, right. But there is an ominous undertone that could threaten the open and unfettered practice of true organic farming, as described in this article and this article, and this short video clip here.

You can read the bill here, and its Senate counterpart here

Mind you, these bills have lobbying links to Monsanto, the great scourge of genetically-modified agricultural and food science, whose policies and practices are currently leaking and insinuating their way into our bodies.

Here's what I find ominous in the House bill:

(1) LIST OF CONTAMINANTS- Not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall publish in the Federal Register a list of the contaminants in foods that have the greatest adverse impact on public health in terms of the number and severity of illnesses and number of deaths associated with foods regulated under this Act. Where appropriate, the Administrator shall indicate whether the risk posed by a contaminant is generalized or specific to particular foods or ingredients.
See this article we posted recently

(c) Regulations- Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture and representatives of State departments of agriculture, shall promulgate regulations to establish science-based minimum standards for the safe production of food by food production facilities. Such regulations shall--

(3) include, with respect to growing, harvesting, sorting, and storage operations, minimum standards related to fertilizer use, nutrients, hygiene, packaging, temperature controls, animal encroachment, and water;
This could mean that natural, organic methods of fertilizer use and other time-tested implements could be deemed "hazardous" under these regulations.

This article also spells out some more specific red flags from the bill, such as...

Section 103 is almost entirely about the administrative aspect of the legislation. It will allow the appointing of officials from the factory farming corporations and lobbyists and classify them as experts and allow them to determine and interpret the legislation. Who do you think they are going to side with?

Section 206 defines what will be considered a food production facility and what will be enforced up all food production facilities. The wording is so broad based that a backyard gardener could be fined and more.

Section 207 requires that the state's agriculture dept act as the food police and enforce the federal requirements. This takes away the states power and is in violation of the 10th amendment.

To express your concern, you can sign this petition here

And call your government reps via the U.S Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121. Express your concerns that local and organic farms and farmers may be unduly affected by the provisions of the bill, ask them to also make sure they read the bill, and express your concern that the bill be altered to protect organic farming from such regulations, and if the bill can't be altered thusly, strongly request them to vote against the bill.

You can also track your reps response to this bill and the bill's progress itself by quickly and freely registering here at the website

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