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HR2749 Food Insecurity NOT Food Safety

Fight Back Fridays Blog Carnival

Fight Back Fridays Blog Carnival

HR 2749 (Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009) Passes House

A Commentary by Kimberly Hartke

Cathy Raymond, of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund reports that The U.S. House of Representative passed HR 2749 by a vote of 283 to 141. The next step for the bill is the Senate. It is likely the Senate will not consider HR2749 until they return from their summer recess. The FTCLDF website will continue to provide updates on the progress of the bill.

One Congressman, Representative Farr called the legislation “historic, landmark and way overdue.”

On the other hand, I would say, HR2749 is way over the top at a cost of 1.5 billion to the American taxpayer! My Congressman’s office told me that “all this bill does is give the FDA more power and more money to protect us.”  I told him, “that is the last thing I want is for the FDA to have more power and more control over small farms.”

The FDA has already demonstrated its inability to protect us from food borne illness outbreaks.  In fact, Congress is giving them a reward for their failures, in an effort to look like they are doing the right thing for America.

This bill would give almost unlimited power to the FDA, and gives them the right to fine and even jail farmers, making farming a potential crime (if you break whatever rules they decide to impose).

If, instead of trying to regulate safety, America got serious about shifting back to a decentralized food system, we could save the 1.5 billion on this fake food safety measure.

Remember Lady Bird Johnson’s “Beautify America” campaign?  Why not have our First Lady, Michele Obama, who has already planted her own organic kitchen garden at the White House, start a campaign for “Re-farming America.”  The networks may even run the campaign as an Ad Council pro-bono ad!

The only true path to safety is to move away from unsustainable systems that rely heavily on government subsidy, federal price supports, federal control and excessive regulation. These waves of large scale food borne illness are just the leading indicators of a system collapsing under its own weight.

For instance, a California farmer contacted me recently about the water shortages in her state that are threatening to destroy crops. If California wasn’t trying to feed the whole country, the all to common droughts and water shortages they experience would not be such a big deal.  Reviving rural communities nationwide by the rebirth of local agriculture would spread the water usage around, and California farms wouldn’t be so vulnerable.

Instead, our well-meaning politicians are falling all over themselves to look heroic, as they tighten the noose around farming families nationwide. I contend that government regulation is what has driven many of America’s family farms under, and just as local farming is making a comeback (in no small part, due to the efforts of Sally Fallon Morell and her Weston A. Price Foundation) massive and sweeping new laws are moving through Congress.

If you are concerned about this huge power grab by the FDA, please contact not only your Congressional Representative, but also your Senator.  They need to be educated about the impact on food safety of these food safety regs.  They are going the wrong way, they do not realize the potential of local foods to revive this land and protect us from harm.  You can make a difference by telling them your story.

Kimberly Hartke is the publicist for the Weston A. Price Foundation.  She and her husband buy 85% of their groceries directly from local farms.  They sponsor several farm drops at their National Realty office in Reston, VA as a community service.

This post is part of the Fight Back Fridays blog carnival on Food Renegade blog.  Check here for more get radical ideas!

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Comments

  1. Anonymus says:

    I think the foods movement needs to examine the record of
    the FDA in protecting the public from drugs that cause more
    harm than the benefits they offer. Considering the drugs
    that have had to be withdrawn after approval recently or
    required warnings, we need to educate ourselves on the FDA
    track record. It’s been quite a while since Frances
    Kelsey, who prevented thalidomide from gaining approval.

    A lot of the problems with the FDA come from relying on
    industry for funding the FDA and medical research. That is
    what they are pretending to do with the $500 fees, but the
    fees in pharma are much larger. Also, food will never be
    absolutely safe any more than a drug can be. The standard
    for food must be higher because it is not trying to cure a
    dread disease. We all have to eat. In the discussion, there
    needs to be a clear focus on the scale of the problem
    with mass food providers. There is an argument for informed
    consent. That’s why we must focus on the information
    small farmers give to their customers and CSA members. We
    have to be more honest than the opposition.

  2. I’m not holding out much hope for my Senator not voting for this [insert strong word here] bill. Despite contacting both my Representative and my Senator regarding another measure near and dear to me (the CPSIA), not only did both of them vote FOR it, but both of them have adamantly supported their positions on it while one admitted there were “unintended consequences” and the other only sent me repeated form letters, one of which actually THANKED me for supporting the law! O.O (I so totally wish I were kidding. :-()

    I also had zero luck getting anyone in the media to pay attention to the passage of that [insert strong word here] either, and this is getting NO press in the Washington DC area that I know of.

    I’m at a loss as to what I can do between now and the Fall session. The spin here seems to be so strong that nobody is aware of it, and a lot of CSA members and Farmer’s Market shoppers are going to be caught off guard if the Senate passes it unchanged when they re-convene. 🙁

    Now what?
    .-= Deb´s last blog ..Berry Parfait Girls’ Polo =-.

  3. Larisa Sparrowhawk says:

    I filled up a whole page on someone else’s Food Renegade blog with my thoughts on HR2749 in the wee hours of this morning. I won’t do that here, but if anyone wants to read my point by point criticism, it is here: http://localvoreoregon.blogspot.com/

Trackbacks

  1. […] Fat and All!22. Shelley – Primal Coconut Blueberry Muffins23. Local Nourishment – CSPI v Dennys 24. HR2749Food Insecurity NOT Food Safety- Hartkeisonline!25. Cara (Free Range Deer Meat)26. Foodie […]

  2. […] Consumer groups and politicians mean well, but they simply don’t know the unintended impacts of such sweeping legislation. See my blog post on the House Food Safety Bill: HR2749 is Food Insecurity NOT Food Safety. […]

  3. […] saga?  Kristen wrote a great post to bring you up to date, and here’s another one on HR 2749 from Kimberly.  (Also, be sure to go back to Kimberly’s blog tomorrow/Tuesday for her […]

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