The Santa Clause and the Gift of the Magi-cians.
The so-called Food
Safety Control S510 bill with the so-called savior Tester-Hagan amendments may now be passed back to the overwhelming approving Senate. This is a perfect example of hard-ball politics of division, where half the food freedom folks are for it and half against it. Typically, federal control bills are written to appease large stakeholders, then revised to include most stakeholders, changed several times in the process, including having several bills of different names.
In this battle, the war on food controls by the corporate/government partnership, the magic trick is to appear to save the small farms producing local foods, yet provide the legal and regulatory framework, with funding, to take it all way. So once again it appears to be an angel of light, a white knight on a horse coming to save the small farm, and getting the foodies to work on the language for them so that end the end, the language can be twisted and used against them.
One thing is so interesting to me that no commentary I have read has mentioned and that is this: even if the trick bill is defeated or passed (even with the amendments the local food people want) the feds and the states have existing authority to do what they want anyway. Similar rules are already in place or in the pipeline, yet most farmers market vendors are not aware of them. Hence, the argument for federal uniformity. If it passes it is much worse, much faster and the states are likely to have additional rules that are stricter making selling in another county or across the state line most difficult.
The big picture here is that these food controls are AGENGA 21 in disguise–that’s right, tied to the UN food, environment, health and population programmes–to harmonize food “safety and quality” globally and to sync with the US Healthy Agenda 2010– which shares the same goals.
Tonight, we have another article from Doreen Hayes, a lively commentary from David Gumpert and a letter from the Campaign for Liberty against the issue. On the other side, we have also good analysis and arguments from the Farm-to-consumer Legal Defense Fund.–Augie
America’s Done—Stick a Fork In Her!
S. 510 Hits a Snag, But Be Wary
©Doreen Hannes 2010
Excerpts from her paper:
Make no mistake about this, SB 510, or HR 2749 are worse than the Patriot Act, the Health Care bill, and the Federal Reserve Act combined. We can all live without little pieces of paper, and many of us can live without doctors, and we have been living with the increasing police state since 911, but none of us can live without food and water. If we lose food and water, we won’t be able to fight anything else.
The Tester-Hagan Amendment—Lipstick on a Pig
The largest deception played on the public in S. 510 is the inclusion of the Tester Amendment. This amendment was sold as the complete exemption for all small farms grossing less than $500,000 per year. But if one reads the actual amendment, it is evident that it will not do what it is purported to do for the vast majority of small producers.
The Tester Amendment has strident restrictions on those who may be “exempted” from HACCP (Hazard and Critical Control Point) implementations. HACCP is 50 pages of instructions that require a certifier to sign off on the plan, and a team to be trained in ensuring the plan is followed on the farm. The requirement of this plan put about 40% of small meat processors out of business several years ago. If you fall under the “protection” of the Tester amendment, you won’t have to do it….but let’s see how protective the Tester Amendment really is.
First, the Tester Amendment purports to exempt farms with less than $500,000 in sales from the requirements of S.510. However, to be “exempt” one must sell more than 50% of their products directly to consumers or restaurants within a 275-mile radius from production, and keep records substantiating those sales. The records are open for inspection and verification of the exemption. In other words, you have to prove you are playing by their rules through record keeping and approval of those records, or meet the more onerous requirements of S.510.
You must “apply” to be included in the “protections” of the Tester amendment. You must substantiate through your records for three years that you fit the category of selling more than “50% of average annual monetary value” within this 275-mile radius. So, if you sell on the roadside or at a farmers market, you must have a map handy and ask for ID from everyone who purchases from you or lose your exemption. Nice, huh? . . .
No Surprises-It’s Locally Global
What we have in Tester is local Agenda 21 Sustainable Development. In sum, “control over all human impact on the environment”. Everything will need to be within the ‘food shed’, and if you are outside of the food shed, too bad for you. It’s a great way to surveille and monitor food production and distribution. And you still fall under the broad based “reason to believe” of the Secretary with the Tester amendment. If the “Secretary”, meaning the head of the FDA or HHS thinks you may have a problem, or deems what you produce to be ‘high risk’, you will be shut down until they say you can begin again. All of your product is subject to mandatory recall; that’s why you have to keep records of everyone you sell to. And you will have to register as a facility under the Bioterrorism Act of 2002, referred to as Sec 415 throughout the bill. (Knock knock—this is “premises identification” as in NAIS)
While I know it gets frustrating to call the Congress critters, the more they know that we know, the better the chance at slowing down the destruction they have planned for us. The switchboard number for Congress is 202-224-3121.)
More lively comments follow David Gumpert’s post yesterday on the Tester Admendment being a sheep in wolves clothing:
The Tester-Hagan Amendment was supposed to be the savior of S510, giving smaller producers an exemption from the worst requirements of the so-called food safety legislation. Now, it turns out, the amendment may be the great black hole of the entire food safety steamroller.
While the lawyers are trying to figure out ways to finagle around the U.S. Senate’s error in venturing into the U.S. House’s territory by initiating revenue-generating legislation, another hole has opened in the crumbling dike that is S510. (Even The Wall Street Journal, normally a supporter of the FDA, has come out against it, stealing some of my lines, it seems.)
On close reading, the Tester-Hagan Amendment looks to be doing a lot of the things that the discredited National Animal Identification System (NAIS) tried to do and failed when it was pulled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the face of vehement farmer opposition last year. In other words, Tester-Hagan might well be seen as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, as it were.
See Gumpert’s excellent story and comments here.
Here is the stance of the Campaign for Liberty:
I have good news and bad news.
The bad news is that S. 510, the misnamed “Food Safety Modernization Act,” passed the Senate.
The good news is that this rotten bill has stalled in the House due to unconstitutional tax provisions originating in the Senate. The House Ways and Means Committee is even threatening to “blue slip” and derail the legislation.
We must act now to kill this bill while it’s down.
Tell your representative to oppose the unconstitutional S. 510, which opens the floodgates for tyrannical federal bureaucrats to crush the food industry’s small businesses.
Despite contrary claims, close examination of S. 510 reveals that the FDA acquires even more power than before to shut down family farms on a whim. But, as I write this, the few provisions that give some protections to small-scale farmers are under attack by Big Ag, which doesn’t want to give your local food producers an inch of wiggle room.
The bill also empowers federal agencies to impose international guidelines and standards on domestic food producers – molding American food production into an unhealthy globalist Codex system.
And in these tough economic times, S. 510 will drive up the costs of food production by adding more layers of government interference.
Don’t let the statists empower their Big Agriculture allies and destroy reputable food producers like the independent family farm, where the free market works every day to provide the public with healthy choices.
Click here to get contact information for calling, faxing, and emailing the U.S. House.
Send your congressman one clear message: stop the FDA’s War on Food!
Of the many FOR the passage of the bill with the Tester amendments is Judith McGreary and her Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance organization. She states:
None of this is a perfect solution – S510 and the Tester-Hagan amendment involved very ugly sausage making. The Tester-Hagan amendment ultimately fixes some of the existing problems caused by the 2002 Bioterrorism Law and a very significant part of the problems that would be caused if S510 passes. But it is, at its heart, damage control. That isn’t the fault of Senators Tester or Hagan or any of the people who advocated for this amendment. It’s due to the Agribusiness capture of FDA and much of Congress, a problem that has developed over decades and that we will need to spend the next decade fighting.
More on this page--along with their interpretion of S510:
Then there is the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Foundation position:
We continue to believe that S.510 is NOT in the best interests of small farmers, and especially raw milk farmers. Even though the Tester-Hagan Amendment makes important improvements in the bill, S.510 remains fundamentally flawed.
The core problem is that S.510 will significantly increase the power of the FDA. In response to our suit challenging the ban on raw milk in interstate commerce, the FDA 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”. This agency should not be given any increased power!
FTCLDF position is here.
Will the Real Santa Clauses please stand up? A simple form letter with a short hand written note is far better than a phone call, email or on-line petition. Congressional reps contacts are here.