Behind the Food Safety Modernization Act

By a vote of 215 to 144, the US House of Representatives passed the Food Safety Modernization Act on Tuesday 21 December, enacting first changes to the regulations since 1938.

The good in this bill, however, is still accompanied by the bad, and the Food Safety Modernization Act still contains an amendment from Senators Jon Tester of Montana and Kay Hagan of North Carolina that threatens producers and processors based only on the size of their business, their geographic location, or to whom they sell their products.

This inclusion of exemptions based on non-scientific qualifications will limit the ability of the Food and Drug Administration to assure consumers that all foods they purchase, whether at grocery stores, restaurants, farm markets, or elsewhere, have met the same food safety standards.

Even kitchen gardeners are worried that the “fake food safety bill” will affect their ability to grow food in their own backyard without government interference.

Additionally, Republican Senator Tom Coburn also outlined his concerns with the food-safety legislation.

In a detailed entry on his Web site, Coburn in particular raised concerns with duplication and overlap of responsibilities between the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Coburn also objected to the bill’s $1.4 billion price tag over five years, not including $230 million directly offset by new fees.

Further, the organization, Citizens for Health (CFH) also points out disturbing and unacceptable language in the House version of the bill, which calls for the effective imposition of martial law through cordoning off potentially affected geographic areas in the case of a perceived food transport safety threat in order to halt the movement of food.

As per the new law, the FDA would come under the auspices of Homeland Security and its budget would increase 40%. Since 2008, the Obama administration has increased the FDA budget by 135% to $4.03 billion. An additional 18,000 government employees will be needed to enforce the multitude of new regulations, a twofold increase in personnel.

The only thing S.510 will succeed at is driving smaller, safer producers out of business, broken under the weight of oppressive administrative costs and hidden taxes, while not addressing the root of the foodborne illness problem – the subsidization of industrialized (read: unclean) farms and centralized (read: pathogen-rich) food processing centers. Food prices will rise while the food supply, now even more centralized.

Feeling safer yet?

Copyright (c) January 10, 2011. All rights reserved.


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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Straight to the point and well written, tyvm for the information

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