Food Safety–a Rush to Crush our Local Foods Movement
Is there Ominous Writing on the Wall for Small Farms?
In Annapolis last week, I met a woman named Pat, who had attended some of the hearing on Capitol Hill on the Food Safety legislation, and she said it was downright scary the way the politicians are falling all over themselves to vote for the new laws.
According to the Weston A. Price Foundation, HR 875 does pose serious problems for sustainable farmers and their consumers. Unfortunately, there are already four other “food safety” bills that also pose serious problems: HR 814, HR 759, S 425, and S 510.
Linn Cohen Cole, a prolific writer on the subject of sustainable farming and the food safety issue, sent me the following, which is her take on how we need to change the existing proposals.
Linn Cohen Cole Offers Constructive Criticism of Food Safety Bills
We need to start with what CANNOT be in those bills before adding anything to them, which inadvertently legitimizes them.
In legal and solid language, any bills must make clear only industrial facilities are included, and MUST EXPLICITLY exempt:
all private holding of seeds – individual, farmer, seed exchanges, seed banks, etc.
all small farms including all soil, all water, all crops and all animals on them,
all farmers markets,
all roadside stands,
all small producers of food,
all farm to consumer sales,
all consumer choice over food,
all farm equipment (harvesting, transporting, seed cleaning),
all natural things on farms (manure and agricultural water and wild animals, earthworms),
all natural methods of farming,
and MUST ASSERT AND GUARANTEE:
full and inviolate property rights of farmers,
protection from the government bankrupting farmers, ever, through penalties,
the erasure of all data on farmers put on the data bank,
and full due process in all aspects in all our laws, etc.
Must promote decentralization of the food supply and of local food processing and prioritize every possible protection of small farming.
Must outlaw all raids on farmers.
Must specifically strip Homeland Security’s power surge capacity for search, seizure and destruction of crops, animals and equipment, and all such war on terror regulations threatening small non-corporate farming.
Must outlaw stacking of penalties against farmers.
Must allow farmers to put on their websites any truthful information about their food that is of relevance to consumers.
Must insert strong and multi-layered due process protections between farmers and our government which has been attacking them, using disease and “contamination” as its means to destroy them as competition to agribusiness.
Must write into these bills strict prohibitions and penalties against corporate employees holding jobs within the USDA and FDA or any legislator receiving PAC money from agribusiness introducing bills pertaining to agriculture – both as serious conflict of interest.
This is an incomplete list.
Coming Next Week, Another Commentator Shares His Perspective
Next week on Friday, Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund board member, Steve Bemis will be a guest blogger on HartkeisOnline.com, to share his ideas on how our nation can promote food safety, without damage to the local, sustainable farmer.
Steve is a frequent commenter on The Complete Patient blog, and I know as a farmer and an attorney he will have valuable input. In fact, I nominated him for food safety czar in my comment on said blog.
It’s Fight Back Friday, and Here is What You Can Do!
Maybe, blog readers, you would like to forward these food safety proposals by Linn and Steve on to your elected representatives, as a means of lobbying them on the issue. I certainly wouldn’t object links to my blog floating around on Capitol Hill, maybe staffers will even Twitter the ideas. I understand Congress is all a-twitter these days!
This article is excerpted from Linn’s notes while preparing her recent article on OpedNews.com, Defining Food Safety and Thanking Cowboys.
See also, this article on The Nourishing Gourmet blog about Linn Cohen Cole and the food safety issue, it has links to many of Linn’s recent articles on the subject on OpedNews.com, at the end of each article, the OpedNews site lets you send a message of concern to your local newspapers and representatives in Congress, I implore you to do so.
And this article on the possible impact of HR 875 and S 425 on home gardening.
Visit Food Renegade blog for more Fight Back Friday ideas!