Wolf in sheep’s clothing:
Learn how the “food safety bill” aims to take out small farms—and what you can do to stop it
Sure, it sounds good. Given the uptick in contaminated foods and salmonella outbreaks in recent years, who wouldn’t want someone focusing a little more on the safety of our food supply?
But trust me, the current food safety bill is not the kind of attention we need. Some even say that S.510 has the potential to change the food industry more than any law ever passed—and you know good and well it won’t be a change for the better.
Make no mistake: Something does need to change. To say there are major problems with current food safety regulations would be an understatement.
The Centers for Disease Control says that 76 million people get sick from food-born illnesses every year—and 5,000 of them die. It’s unacceptable. But those devastating numbers could have something to do with the FDA’s lackadaisical attitude toward food safety, which is equally unacceptable.
A report by the Department of Health and Human Services revealed that the FDA inspects less than a quarter of food-production facilities every year—but here’s the real kicker…
Of the facilities that violated standards in 2007, the FDA failed to take regulatory action against more than half of them. Couple that together with the atrocious farming practices of the big food corporations, and it’s no wonder food safety is a problem.
But the current food safety bill—with its broad scope and sweeping implications—is certainly not the answer. Although it might sound good on the surface—and, in truth, it does have the potential to be extremely beneficial—it also has the potential to be very dangerous, too. The problem is that it’s too open-ended. It gives the FDA too much leeway—and leaves too many openings to be influenced by whatever industry they’ve got their toe in.
The bill would require more FDA inspections of farms, food production and processing facilities, give the FDA authority for recalls, and force record-keeping from farms to shelves.
In other words…
This bill would give Uncle Sam an iron grip over every aspect of the food industry
And mark my words: Such a move could cause small farmers to hoe their last row and hang up their hats. If the fees alone don’t put them out of business, the red tape will. They’re simply not equipped to run their businesses the same way large corporations do. And they shouldn’t be required to, either.
Is it any wonder Big Farma is such a fan of this legislation? You can bet their enthusiasm has nothing to do with “food safety” or “protecting the public.” After all, Big Farms are responsible for the vast majority of food contamination issues in the U.S.
Remember the spinach scare? The peanut butter panic? The poisonous peppers? All of them were traced back to big business, not the little guy.
And, if you’ll recall, before the government correctly identified the peppers as the source of the contamination, they prematurely (and incorrectly) pointed an accusing finger at the tomato industry—even going as far as to advise consumers not to purchase them.
How do you think that affected the tomato-growers’ bottom line? Is this the kind of “protection” we can look forward to when the FDA actually has full authority to issue mandatory recalls? A factory farm could withstand such an “oops.” A small farm might not be so lucky.
John Ikerd, emeritus professor of agricultural economics at the University of Missouri, Columbia, said the bill’s impact on smaller producers “could be a blow to the whole local food movement.”
“I know people who have been small farmers for 25 to 30 years who are looking to get out of the business because food safety is becoming so alarmist,” said Mary Alionis, owner of a small farm in Oregon.
But the implications go even beyond the potential extinction of the small farmer.
Dr. Shiv Chopra, Canada Health whistle blower, said, “If accepted [S.510] would preclude the public’s right to grow, own, trade, transport, share, feed and eat each and every food that nature makes. It will become the most offensive authority against the cultivation, trade and consumption of food and agricultural products of one’s choice. It will be unconstitutional and contrary to natural law or, if you like, the will of God.”
There’s been so many back-and-forths with this bill that it would be pointless for me to tell you what’s in it; it seems to change by the day. And as of right now, it’s questionable whether or not it will actually pass before the November elections.
Let’s hope it doesn’t.
Here’s what do to:
With any luck, S.501 won’t pass this time around, and we’ll have more time to fight it in the future. You can be sure I’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime, as always, the most powerful vote you have is the one you cast with your wallet. And make no mistake. Every single time you make a transaction, you’re supporting something.
Don’t buy into Big Farma’s system. Continue to support your local farmers.
Making my vote count,
William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.