December 5, 2010

Food Safety Act a Trojan Horse for Corporations

Posted in FDA at 9:57 pm by yjohn

Nobody can deny that there are safety issues with our food supply. People grow ill from eating spinach or even hamburger from time to time. Peanut butter becomes tainted. People die.

I’d say, generally speaking, that people dying is a good clue that there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Of course, what often happens is that a tragedy is used to justify a “solution” that promises to be far worse than the problem it is ostensibly intended to solve. And S 510, The Food Safety Modernization Act, is no exception.

We have a number of very serious long-term problems with the food supply in this country. There are issues with sanitation due to housing migratory workers in substandard conditions that do not permit of hand-washing, there are issues with pervasive use of GMO crops without the knowledge of those who consume them, there are issues with centralization of seedlines and also long-distance transportation making our food supply easily disrupted and subject to price increases due to spikes in the price of oil. And more.

Many of the most serious problems in our food supply can best be solved through localization and the increased competition and food security that this would entail.

S 510, certain safeguards that it contains notwithstanding, would serve to hurt rather than advance efforts at localization by imposing costly new controls that would not increase safety, but would certainly make it more difficult for smaller and more local farms to stay in business.

Furthermore, given that the only way we can guarantee eating food that doesn’t contain pesticides, herbicides, hormones, antibiotics and GMOs is to choose Organic or Certified Naturally Grown foods; the fact that the legislation does NOT exempt Organic and CNG foods from regulations which would contradict these methods is very serious indeed.This is especially a concern as there are already federal laws that make it illegal to label food according to its content of GMOs or rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone).

Even more ominously, S 510 puts the FDA under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security while giving the “Food Czar” almost unlimited powers, up to and including imposition of martial law to interrupt interstate commerce of food. For “safety” reasons — of course.

The legislation will also saddle Americans with an additional 18,000 employees who will be, if current federal employees are any measure, arrogant and incompetent.  Meanwhile, the FDA budget would increase a whopping 40%.

Consider that the same FDA that has allowed innumerable unsafe drugs onto the market will be given increased authority over local eggs; and the problem becomes pretty clear.

While S 510 has cleared the Senate, it must still be reconciled with the House version in conference committee.

Go to http://www.senate.gov/, contact your Senator and let him know that S 510 should not be approved in full version.