This came to me today--has anyone heard of or know much about this HR 875? Now this was the original blog that was sent to me. Disclaimer here--I don't know anything about this group and have never heard of them before. This is the first I've heard of it. It actually came to me in my weekly subscription from my financial planner (of sorts) who covers a wide variety of topics with a plethora of links (and he's not political, per say). It peaked my interest because it dealt with backyard vegetable gardening and general private food production for individual consumption. Here is the blog: http://www.campaignforliberty.com/blog.php?view=12671
I just came across the discussion of this bill [and related possibilities] on another site forum of organic gardening.
It appears that the responses range from the sky is falling to just updating food safety because of salmonella concerns!!!!
I certainly ABHOR some of the global standards being pushed like Codex Alimentarus when it comes to food supplements and small time food production..
Certainly the world is being groomed for one world government and my only real hope and help lies in the spiritual Kingdom.
with a professional environmental activist and a financial planner who uses web bot linguistics to predict long term and short term trends in the family--I learn a lot ahead of the main stream media (and a lot they suppress) and most people
this one just doesn't "feel" right to me about this one (an obvious hidden agenda to me)--when they control everyone's food sources/supplies they got you (or so they think).
Indy, I agree with your thinking until you got to the very end--the universe does always expect you to pull up your boots and get out there and at least die trying (in my opinion).
Here is what the Organic Consumers Association has to say about HR875.
Our representatives need to receive an outpouring of feedback from the general public asking them to either edit this bill to protect small farms and legitimate operations that are run cleanly, or kill this bill and reintroduce one that has better wording.
Quoting:HR 875, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, is a limited-vision attempt by moderate Democrats and Republicans to craft food safety legislation to address the out-of-control filth and contamination that are inherent in our industrialized, now globalized, "profit-at-any-cost" food system. This being said, OCA does not support HR 875 in its present form, given the fact that, if the bill's regulations were applied in a one-size-fits-all manner to certified organic and farm-to-consumer operations, it could have a devastating impact on small farmers, especially raw milk producers who are already unfairly targeted by state food-safety regulators. Although the OCA deems this bill somewhat well-intentioned, we are calling on Congress to focus its attention on the real threats to food safety: globalized food sourcing from nations such as China where food safety is a joke and domestic industrial-scale and factory farms whose collateral damage includes pesticide and antibiotic-tainted food, mad cow disease, E.coli contamination and salmonella poisoning. And, of course, Congress and the Obama Administration need to support a massive transition to organic farming practices.
I personally don't feel its well intended myself--I think its carefully crafted to eliminate the small growers where massive corporate agribusiness will have all the control over food supplies and police themselves (like that's a joke). From what I've heard since posting this, from other sources, there is definitely a hidden agenda being hidden in plain sight (as is usual with them). But I'll refrain from posting those links.
the 2nd youtube link is about to go viral--its picking up a groundswell on a lot of different forums from financial planners to sustainable agriculture and economic permaculture forums. I've gotten 7 emails with links to it just today.
Rep Rosa Delauro is married to Stanley Greenberg, President of Greenberg-Quinlan Research, Inc., a public issues research and polling firm. Greenberg works with corporate clients including BP, Boeing, Monsanto, Comverse, and United HealthCare.
Time to defend our ability to eat. The initial read makes it seem well intentioned. A little thought and you realize that all the regulation and controls on food grown here does nothing to affect what hits our border from China. That and what business does Monsanto have in writing legislation anyway? Smells a little too Fascist to me.
The statements about preventing food safety problems can go right into regulating small operations right out of business. Can't prove the intention, just recognize the possibility. The mindset of the writing reflects an industrial system approach. It does not accommodate other food production methodology that would likely produce food with less chance of large scale contamination. This can be addressed. Also, the doubling of government agencies should be addressed. If the USDA isn't effective, why? Obvious answer is the influence of industry on its decisions and (perhaps) a lack of funding to do its job itself.
In the opEdNews article posted by Gloria, I find the statement:
"the criminalization of seed banking, the prison terms and confiscatory fines for farmers, the 24 hours GPS tracking of their animals, the easements on their property to allow for warrantless government entry"
The words "seed," "bank," "GPS," and "easement" do not appear in HR 875.
I'm wondering where Linn Cohen-Cole got this from.
Good Morning. I am going to ask one favor of anyone getting this email on the morning of 9-14-09. Please watch Fox News Network (not the station that carries the Simpsons) at 9PM EST. Spend one hour with your family to see what I had the privilege of viewing in a group of about 300 people at Carolina Wings Friday night. It is my belief that there is trouble on the horizon and I urge you to be informed.
I am not a doom and gloomer. I am a realist. America has economic issues. China is calling our debt due. In the Columbia area it is difficult to find ammo. Our homes are being reprocessed. Our right to grow our own food is being infringed on by a bill that has a good likelyhood of passing without the people telling our representatives we are against HR 875 (I am not kidding, look it up yourself).
Now is the time for us to go back to what made our country great. The principals that guided our founding fathers. I talked to a very bright high school student tonight. I asked her if they studied The Constitution in her school. She replied that they did. I asked her what she knew about it. She proudly stated they had to memorize the first paragraph. Am the only one that thinks this is a problem? That this is all any young person needs to know about how OUR country is supposed to be governed? Is this why government is so big and trying to do and be everything to all people? Thomas Jefferson said, "A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.-" Oops, someone forgot to tell our congress this.
The problem is, in my opinion, is that things are being run by the mega-corporations. Follow the Money--they had a name for this in Germany which allowed the rise of Hitler into power. Need I mention that word? I'll give you a hint--it starts with an "F", but its definitely not that f word.
edited to add--Pioneer, your link, that's the 2nd link in my first post.
I'm as concerned as anyone about food safety but this is not the solution. Local food should be a private decision/choice/transaction no matter if it's purchased from the farm or the corner store or the farmer's market. Eating local is the single most effective safeguard and should be encouraged rather than hindered.
This seems to me just another excuse to grow government, keep the courts overloaded and pander to corporate profits.
Food producers and manufacturers already have a vested interest in selling safe products. If the government is worried about our safety all they have to do is set some standards, set some really severe penalties and investigate with random product sampling. I think they need to spend the money on testing for toxins and contaminates in the finished products as purchased from the grocery store. That places the burden of ensuring safety on the manufacturers which will be far more efficient than another government agency.
This bill has serious consequences for organic farming and farmer's markets. It is a power grab that some in Congress are making to create a brand new huge bureaucracy to come and inspect every tiny little plot of garden that might possibly be sold at a farmer's market.
I do not sell my veggies or my chicken, guinea and duck eggs outside of the State of Kansas. I am NOT involved in interstate commerce.
The Feds, constitutionally, have no business telling me how to run my business unless I'm involved in Interstate Commerce.
Not only that, but the majority of food poisoning issues stem from the preparation of the foods - NOT the farms where they are grown.
The peanut salmonella thing was caused by filth in the peanut processing plant, not the peanut farmers.
This bill will end up prohibiting the use of compost for fertilizer - we will all be forced to use commercial, properly regulated, fertilizers.
This is a bill that needs to be stopped and stopped now. It is something that Liberals and Conservatives can and should agree on.
If you ever want raw milk, free range chickens or their eggs, fresh produce grown in your area, write your congress critters AND the White House.
The Obamas have been big supporters of locally grown foods - how could the President do anything but veto this if it gets thru Congress?
Anyway, there is a time to get involved. For me, this time is NOW!
I printed out my letter urging my representatives to amend this bill to protect small & sustainable operations or oppose it entirely. Just to be sure they hear me, I've faxed my letter to both their local office and the DC office AND submitted it via the "contact me" form on their websites.
I like buying my food directly from my local producers and I'm not giving that up without a fight!
"Food Safety" is a nice sounding term used for government control over more and more of your lives...as is "homeland security".
So whilst some may consider this bill benign you always
have to read the fine print.
You don't have to believe watchdog groups slant.
Simply go to your governments website and get the info straight from the horses mouth.
But they (our gov.) depends on our apathy and complicated wording in these bills to pass such laws right under our noses.
I've been following along the conversation and just wanted to post this part of an email message/newsletter I received from localharvest.com
"Over the last couple of weeks, I've also received a barage of emails about the "Food Safety Modernization Act", or HB 875. The tone of these was somewhere between concerned and hysterical. From what we have learned, HB 875 is not the horror story it has been made out to be. It would not, for example, result in "totalitarian control" or "the planned elimination of farmers" as one oft-forwarded email put it. It actually contains some sound ideas. But for some reason, myths and misinformation about this bill have taken root and spread like a noxious weed.
It got me to thinking. First, truth be told, it made my head spin. All this justifiable jubilance stuffed in next to that screeching panic felt downright disorienting. The administration could not publicly promote organic gardening, and then sign off on a bill that would "criminalize organic farming and outlaw home gardening." It's absurd.
But what does it mean, to have so much exuberance in the locavore community on the one hand, and so much fear and loathing on the other? I think it comes down to this: food, and the ability to grow it honestly, is fundamental to our well-being. We celebrate when we see the food we love, and the values behind it, being respected by influential people. And if we feel that our right to grow that food without undue interference is threatened, we react strongly.
That said, it seems to me that we need to take a breath and put both of our hands to work. We can, each of us, sow at least one seed this spring. If the First Lady thinks pulling a few weeds is a good activity for her family, it's probably good for ours too - and it is. We can, each of us, also follow the food safety bills as they make their way through Congress, writing to our representatives to tell them how important small scale, organic agriculture is to us and to our communities.
It turns out that HB 875 is unlikely to go anywhere. And that's not necessarily great news, given that it contained some ambitious, positive changes. Our friends at the Cornucopia Institute tell us that 875 has been passed over for another food safety bill, HB 759. They, and others like Food and Water Watch think that we will need to make our voices heard as HB 759 moves forward, to ensure that the bill that is eventually passed includes exemptions for small food processing facilities and the same kind of smart, risk-based inspection processes that are contained in HB 875. We'll keep you posted."
I think the massive objection to this bill is not only its potential for government interference with our right to grow food organically, but also its connection with the Monsanto company who promotes GM modified seeds and crops as "sustainable".
The whole increasing global-ness is a threatening potental.to our freedom. World Trade standards might sound good to disinterested parties, but are likely to be Trojan horses for many of us who grow food. Parallel to this are threats to supplemental vitamin and nutrient freedom every time the FDA belches as they are so thinnly staffed and so leveraged by drug company people.
There are a whole slew of bills which have been introduced in the House this year that have as their purpose the "traceability" of all food. It all sounds good, until you realize that food imported from other countries is exempt- so the inexpensive fruits and vegetables from Mexico, Chili and other South American Countries, will not have to be traceable to the plot of land upon which they have been grown.
Yet, the tomato scare last summer was due to imported tomatoes, not tomatoes grown in the USA by American farmers.
I grow a small amount of produce for sale at our local farmers' market. I have yet to break even doing so, but until all these bills were introduced, I had hopes that maybe in another couple of years, I might break even.
With the rules and regulations that virtually all of these bills demand, I will go so far into the hole trying to abide by them, that I will just quit growing veggies for sale, because the cost would be too dear in time, liability and increased costs.
There are just as many bills regulating all animals in the USA - some say I would have to microchip my chickens with GPS enabled chips. And I would have to file a report anytime one of my free range chickens comes up missing or dies. Often, a chicken just comes up missing - hawks, owls, coyotes and other predators kill them.
I just sell my eggs locally, and there is a lot of resistance here to $3.00 a dozen eggs. To abide by possible NAIS rules, I would have to charge probably 8 to 10 dollars for a dozen eggs to break even. In other words, it will put me out of business.
Most of the food safety issues in our country come from the factories where food is processed or from other countries - NOT from individuals selling small amounts of food at Farmers' Markets.
I already abide by my state and local regulations. The Federal Government is overstepping its power in the US Constitution by attempting to regulate everything down to a backyard plot.
We do not need or want a central planning committee telling us what we can grow and how to grow it. Look how the Soviet Union fared under such tyranny.
In the recent peanut/salmonella scare, I read several times that Nestle paid for their own inspection of the facilities several years apart and both times found problems that caused them to refuse to do business with that supplier. That makes good sense to me. Whereas all those manufacturers that had to recall products relied on the peanut processor's own bought report that was from a meaningless rubber stamp outfit that would have approved anything just to keep the account. Basically they are saying we've got this piece of paper and it's not our fault. Just as obvious is the fact that the states of GA and TX have faulty inspection systems.
Something is very wrong with this scenario. I would like to see the burden of inspection and safety placed upon food processors. The government's role should be legislation and random product testing off the supermarket shelves. Those recalls should not have been necessary and clearly demonstrate that most ingredients are not being screened by the manufacturers. We cannot and should not have to pay for a million people running around looking and sniffing everywhere food is grown, processed and sold.
Large and small farmers sell to co-ops and other distributors direct from the field. It seems cost prohibitive to test every load from every source at that level. Maybe a tag with a lot number would suffice so it could be traced to the distributor would be a prudent improvement. That craziness last year with the tomatoes nearly bankrupted a bunch of innocent FL growers.
On the other hand, small farmers selling locally aren't a risk to the Nation. They live and own property in the community. I have faith that with all those ties and vested interests, they will take all reasonable care to ensure they are selling a good product. Food is a natural product and there will always be some unavoidable problem somewhere. It's foolish and wasteful for Washington to think they can cure everything if they can just control every little thing.
I'm sending another email to my representatives along these lines and above all stressing freedom for local food and that more government employees do not translate to the most bang for the buck.
And some folks wonder why the US has developed an "underground" food movement of food buying clubs where folks gather at appointed times to sell their locally produced or home made foods to each other.
That's what I meant. I'm tired of everybody passing the buck and getting off with their wrists slapped. There ought to be penalties in place that are truly punitive. Somebody the size of Kellogs can afford to test their ingredients. They had to suffer the expense of a recall but there should be a penalty for putting the products out in the first place. I'm sure the industry could figure out how to cover their backs if they were forced to it.
Remember the E coli in the Jalapenos and the spinach? Those could have been the result of ignorance on the part of the farmer and it's really amazing there hasn't been more of that kind of thing reported. The Mayo Clinic group in MN discovered the source in both cases. Not our esteemed CDC or Dept. of Agriculture.
Remember the melamine in the pet food and powdered milk from China? We actually have federal inspectors on the ground in China and other countries at great taxpayer expense. It would be a much better and non-political idea to force the purchasers of those products to ensure their safety via stiff penalties. It might even qualify as common sense.
I guess I'm just sick of ill conceived, ineffective and burdensome legislation that just grows government and costs the taxpayers.
"With the rules and regulations that virtually all of these bills demand, I will go so far into the hole trying to abide by them, that I will just quit growing veggies for sale, because the cost would be too dear in time, liability and increased costs."
Yes, I have used the White House contact page on several occasions, and I've never gotten any kind of feedback that anyone even read it.
I feel like there are people in the government who are trying to just deluge us with bills that are so disheartening that we will give up and some of these things will get through. Bureaucrats answer to no one, they end up decided how a bill should be interpreted because Congress is too lazy to write a bill that is exact.
I find that I'm doing more bartering with people - my eggs for their goatsmilk cheese, etc. The local meat locker buys my home-made egg noodles, and I buy their freshly butchered, local meats.
When you know which farmer raised the steer that your hamburger comes from, it reassures you that they were treated well and grass fed.
I feel bad for people in big cities who don't have these options.
This thread reads like 99.9% of all the others I've read concerning HR 875. Sorry to be a party pooper but it's not "The Monsanto Bill", and it doesn't appear to be designed to "crush the local farmer". I don't think anyone here would disagree there's a lot of problems with our food supply chain... with so much mass production and imported products when something goes wrong it has the potential to affect millions of people quickly so I don't personally feel more oversight is automatically a bad thing. While the bill doesn't specifically offer exceptions for the home gardener, I don't expect the army to confiscate my tomato plant, which is what I'm hearing a lot of people scream about. While I'm probably more distrustful of government than the average citizen I have no facts to suggest this is anything more than a way to spend more of our tax dollars on another ineffective government program. None of us know exactly who will have to register, how expensive and/or difficult that process will be, the specific requirements for bringing food to market, if the bill will make it through congress, and if it does will Obama sign it into law. Do you really think the first Prez to have a veggie garden at the White House in 50 years is against the home gardener?
I think actually the garden is a school project - not the president's personal endeavor. Its more something his kids wanted to do with their friends - and Mom is facilitating.
As for Monsanto - "food safety" is one of its buzz words. There were no protective provisions in this bill for farmers - and there is a history of litigation of Monsanto charges against farmers "stealing" its GM crops which "accidentally" show up in nearby organic gardener's fields. The bill was introduced by the wife of a Monsanto employee.
Dorkasaurus, Many well-respected small farmers and many lawyers and even my Congresswoman have all told me that this is a possibly dangerous bill because it is too broad - which means that bureaucrats get to determine the law. And, it does ignore the 10th Amendment- it would affect those of us selling our food in our own states - the Feds are not allowed to do that.
If I sell someone a bad egg, they know me, they are going to tell me. I don't worry about them getting sick, because the people I sell eggs to know to always crack an egg into a cup before adding it to an ingredient and to cook the egg thoroughly - I hand candle each egg to check for minute cracks in shells that could cause a problem.
Same with my veggies - I gather them the same day I sell them - I wash the root vegetables, and since I don't use pesticides or herbicides, and I certainly don't defecate in my garden (as is done in many third world countries) the risks of any illness are extremely low - what price do we pay for globalization, after all?
There was a bill similar to this one which was attempted several years ago, but its focus was on selling sterilized seeds so that no seeds could be harvested from the current crops and all future seeds would have to be purchased from Monsanto and others of that ilk. Best I recall, this was soundly defeated, but they don't give up.
Beth I understand when buying food produced locally the need for inspection and regulation in minimal. I also choose not to poop on my produce and although I don't take it to market (I might this year) I do give it away to family, friends, coworkers, etc. and they all know me and know I provide tasty fresh pesticide/herbicide/poop free produce and I know if there was a problem I would hear about it in 24 hours max. Even without HR 875 in order for me to sell at a local farmers market there are rules in place and surprise, they almost all pertain to food safety. My point is that if anyone wants to bring food to market, whether it's farmer john with his basket of onions or monsanto bob with his 500 tons of frankenfood both should be ok accepting responsibility for their product. Also I would think that if anything the last eight years have clearly demonstrated the federal government can do anything it wants. National ID system anyone? Warrantless wiretaps? Private army policing U.S. streets? The list goes on and on.
And how would it affect you personally? Sure it is broadly worded, and a boring read (as are most bills) but where does it say the gestapo will punish you for selling your eggs at market? I've read it a few times and mostly what I get out of it is that it might actually be an attempt to ensure food you buy at the store is safe to eat...an effort to actually do what the USDA and FDA are supposed to be doing already. When a local grower has a problem maybe a few dozen people are affected...maybe even a few hundred, but when a major operation is flawed it can affect hundreds of thousands of people. While I don't see anything that specifically excludes anyone from the "farmer/terrorist" watch list I also don't see anything that specifically includes you or I on that list. No section tells me I must buy seed from monsanto, and to me it appears the ones feeling the most threatened by this bill-not-a-law are not the ones it's truly aimed at monitoring. I don't know, maybe I'm not paranoid enough anymore, or maybe I'm too paranoid because I can't help but think this "story" would hardly get a peep out of anyone if this was March '08.
Well, Dorkosaurus, from my standpoint in reference to the earlier bill regarding terminator genes and other methods of limiting seed production, that occurred during the previous administration and they heard loud and long from me on that, so I don't believe that it's administration specific, just an ongoing effort by the big guys to control their turf and own it all. I'm very leery of legislature which is specifically written to appear innocuous but leaves broad leeway for interpretation.
Do you have a link for said bill? I know about the USDA working in conjunction with a company recently acquired by Monsanto to develop seeds that would prevent the resulting crop from producing viable seeds but hadn't heard about any proposals to require anyone to use those seeds. At the risk of "siding with the big guys" I doubt you or I would be required to grow these types of plants, although the possibility of genetically modified crops cross breeding with neighboring crops is troublesome for sure.
Obviously the big guys do not have our best interests at heart, and it's unlikely they ever will. Money is always the bottom line, and how many are downtrodden along the way is of no concern. The strong (aka sneaky/vicious/unscrupulous/and *rarely* honest) survive and the weak are buried. This is capitalism in action. In the case of our food supply it's the reason every "fresh" item you buy isn't fresh, has little to no taste, and virtually everything has corn in it plus a dozen other things we'd probably all be better off without. Sadly the majority don't seem very concerned as long as they can get a 99 cent burger who cares where it came from or what it's pumped full of... give us convenience or give us death! But you knew that already...
Anyway I'll stick to my hot peppers and tomatoes and refrain from suggesting safer food might not be a bad idea. Monsanto isn't a company I care to defend, and while I don't care for many of the methods used when food is produced on a mass scale the reality is it's here to stay and it's also why the majority of people in this country (and others) get to eat everyday. Sustenance farming is not a viable option for 99.9% of Americans so if you know of a way to get fresh wholesome food on everyone's table you should be crowned King. It's a complex issue, and I certainly don't have a solution for it.
Especially when its sponsored by the wife of a big M employee. Monsanto has its reputation based on its activities: forcing organic businesses out of business by claiming they have stolen its patented seeds when Monsanto crops cross pollinate nearby fields; buying up seed companies for more potential patents cornering the seed market; lobbying congress to send its products "to the starving millions" in 3d world countries when they do not want their genetically modified product.
This is the factual situation. So when there is still another bill with connected Monsanto interests - people tend to think here is still another example of what we have been talking about. It is not an isolated occurrence.
There's always going to be alot of "disinformation" that swirls around such matters but the bottom line my gov't is (still) trying to get more and more control over my food and my life one baby step at a time so nobody notices until its too late...ya know...the slippery slope factor.
Somehow I think it might already be too late because in this country it started a long, long time ago when the gov.t killed off the Bison and put Native Americans on "reservations"...a nice word for concentration camps.
If the gov wants to control the commercial food industry that's one thing...but they need to *stay out of my backyard.*
I don't need to be saved from myself.
It's not a matter of safety...it's all about controlling the masses
and controlling the world.
"At the risk of "siding with the big guys" I doubt you or I would be required to grow these types of plants, although the possibility of genetically modified crops cross breeding with neighboring crops is troublesome for sure. "
Dorkasaurus, you would be required to plant the GMO plants not through a law/regulation that says you must, but by the lack of alternative seeds when M0n$ant0 buys up all other seed vendors or forces them out of business through the costly litigation that ensues when new laws are so vague and open ended. We have already seen this tactic in play. Their latest ploy makes it too expensive for many independent seed cleaners to operate, limiting the seed available for farmers to buy (this has happened to many seed providers in the MidWest of the US). This has happened in Uttar Pradesh, where M0n$ant0's subsidiary has eliminated all other cotton seed. The farmers cannot buy seed from anyone else - it is no longer available.
Gloria & dmj, Greenburg is not a Monsanto employee. He is not on the board of directors. No matter how many times you repeat it it still isn't true. This doesn't mean he's a good guy, this doesn't mean Monsanto is a good company, it is what it is. http://www.monsanto.com/responsibility/corp_gov/directors.asp and dmj, reading the bill has nothing to do with realizing whether or not DeLauro's significant other is involved.
Dorkasaurus: That bill was introduced at least six years ago and I have no link to it still on my computer. The way I learned about it, however, was through the 60 Minutes program on Sunday evening. Maybe in their archives you might find reference to it. I did what I thought my conscience dictated I do, which was to contact all my state's reps in Congress and state my position.
We all know that no one in Washington is looking out for us and that our government has become a prostitute for anyone with money to offer. I expect no benevolence from it and indeed am wary of all their empty promises. While I am registered to vote under one particular party, it is my HO that they're all cut out of the same cloth and there's a not a penny's worth of difference in any of them. Corruption reigns supreme and anyone who believes otherwise is not reading between the lines. Public service in this country has denigrated into a wealth-building position and no one who has the country's genuine interests at heart can afford to play the game or win it.
I'm signing off this thread with this statement, as I believe we have reached an impasse and in accordance with Dave's rules, which I certainly don't want to break or even bend!
Re: DeLauro's connection to Monsanto
quoted from above link:
The problem with the blogs is that they definitely contain at least some false information. As a result they can easily be dismissed by the very congressmen and women that are needed to turn this one around! One of the most obvious faux-pas is the fact that the internet sites are telling us that DeLauro's husband, Stanley Greenberg, is an employee of Monsanto so he's using his good wife to push through a bill-that some have dubbed the Monsanto bill-that will massively benefit Monsanto.
While DeLauro and Greenberg are indeed man and wife, Monsanto themselves are disowning Greenberg, saying he "did some contract work for Monsanto more than 10 years ago." Maybe someone can ask Ms DeLauro to confirm this one way or another? It shouldn't be difficult to get a straight answer.
Here's a take on the Bill from today's Organic Consumer's newsletter. Note, this is NOT the entire article, just a smidge. Link to the whole article is below.
Quoting:HR 875 is a food safety bill that, as it is currently drafted, could be applied to all farms, including certified organic and farm-to-consumer operations. The bill would require farms to have a food safety plan, allow their records to be inspected, and comply with food safety regulations.
For the record, Organic Consumers Association does have an alert on HR875. As OCA points out in our Action Alert, we cannot support a "food safety" bill unless it provides protection or exemptions for organic and farm-to-consumer producers and cracks down on the real corporate criminals who are tampering with and polluting our nation's food supply.
And, some encouraging thoughts from the same newsletter:
Quoting:In mid-February, Tom Vilsack, the new secretary of agriculture, took a jackhammer to a patch of pavement outside his headquarters to create his own organic "people's garden." Two weeks later, the Obama administration named Kathleen Merrigan, an assistant professor at Tufts University and a longtime champion of sustainable agriculture and healthy food, as Mr. Vilsack's top deputy.
…AT the heart of the sustainable-food movement is a belief that America has become efficient at producing cheap, abundant food that profits corporations and agribusiness, but is unhealthy and bad for the environment.
The federal government is culpable, the activists say, because it pays farmers billions in subsidies each year for growing grains and soybeans. A result is an abundance of corn and soybeans that provide cheap feed for livestock and inexpensive food ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup.
Hi. Was lurking and dropped in. Good discussion. I think the HR 875 bill is well intentioned but too broad and not fair to small farmers. I'm also not real impressed with celebrity gardening but it is a step in the right direction. Better than shooting animals on a game ranch.
(Quoting Hemophobic) "I'm signing off this thread with this statement, as I believe we have reached an impasse and in accordance with Dave's rules, which I certainly don't want to break or even bend!"
What impasse? By asking if you had a link I wasn't implying you were fabricating anything so hopefully you didn't take it that way, and if you did I apologize. I was honestly curious about the bill and basically share your opinion regarding big business/government. No impasse from where I'm sitting...
Hi folks. I'm chiming in here because a local garden column write sent an update from the Organic Consumers Association to her email list this morning -- I'm on the list -- and this paragraph about the legislation in question caught my eye. It felt important to share this perspective here:
"The following note is typical of the calls and e-mails Organic Consumers Association has been receiving this week:
"Do you know anything about HR 875, a 'food safety' bill that was written by Monsanto, Cargill and ADM? I've heard a few individual activists scream about this as the death of farmers markets, CSAs and local organic food, yet have seen no alerts from any of the reliable groups, including OCA. Any idea what's up with this?"
For the record, Organic Consumers Association does have an alert out on HR875. As OCA points out in our Action Alert, we cannot support a "food Safety" bill unless it provides protection or exemptions for organic and farm-to-consumer producers and cracks down on the real corporate criminals who are tampering with and polluting our nation's food supply--- such as Monsanto.
Having said that, OCA supports aspects of HR875 that call for mandatory recalls of tainted food, increased scrutiny of large slaughterhouses and food manufacturers, and hefty fines against companies that send poisonous food to market. The now discredited ultra-libertarian notion that companies or the "market" will regulate themselves is not only ludicrous, but dangerous, whether we are talking about the banking system or the food and farming sector.
Of course, Monsanto and large corporate agribusiness are out to destroy traditional farming. Unfortunately, while many people have been distracted by HR 875, the biotech companies have been hard at work pushing their agenda: Monsanto's gene-altered (so-called) drought-resistant corn, Epitopix's E. coli vaccine, and the ban on rBGH-free labeling that Monsanto's successor Eli Lilly is trying to push through the Kansas legislature. We need to keep working together to work towards positive alternatives, such as organic agriculture and the green economy."
Interesting to me that a public outcry can be used to mask yet deeper entanglements of manipulation of our legal system and food production... but it does seem to be what is happening, at least according to this.
Sorry, no link was in the email and I do not subscribe myself, but I am sure if anyone wants to google Organic Consumer Association you will easily find all you need to know about these folks.
Hi, Gloria! Hi, all! The dragon is fine. Sometimes emotions can run high on this issue, as we've seen on the Rocky Mt. Forum. I had to take a break myself before I wrote some things that my D.H. described as "political and strident". ( Which does make me laugh because that is certainly a part of my nature. ) Still, I think this discussion has been quite restrained and civil. I really do think this particular bill was well intentioned and just not very well thought out. I think what the OCA says is quite valid.
Certainly pulling tainted food off the market is necessary. Companies that cause problems due to negligence should be fined, and especially for repeat offenses should loose their licenses. As far as I know, these things are already on the books. So why more legislation? Why a new organization to do the same thing the current organization is responsible for? I can only think of two answers. 1) You want to look like you are doing something when in reality you are avoiding doing what is already on the books. 2) You have a different agenda altogether.
That makes sense to me. I would guess that someone wanted to add on some interesting side ideas that would not be noticed. So, perhaps it is quite well thought out; just not by any group that works for my benefit. I can believe that. I can also believe that someone had a good idea and didn't realize how it could be mis-used or misinterpreted by certain parties. Either way, it shouldn't pass in it's current incarnation. Plus, we do have laws already, I thought. Were they all just abolished in the past 10 years?
When I wrote and phoned my reps on this bill, I borrowed some of the phrases from the OCA suggested letter and emphasized that appreciated the effort to improve food safety and that I was very concerned with the vagueness and broadness of the language, the "one size fits all" approach, and the need for a common sense approach that would not punish/penalize smaller farms and sustainable operations for the flaws of factory farming. I was also very, very clear that I do not want any food products from factory farms and am concerned about the health and environmental issues associated with them.
OK, and thanks. I am just so pleased this is getting so much attention, frankly. I have seen info about it from a number of folks I know, none of whom know each other! This tells me the subject is active for a wide swath of people and that gives me hope that it will be attended to with awareness... and not behind everyone's backs as so much seems to have been done lately!
There does seem to be a fad for lambasting the Big Bad M. They are bad enough with their genetic modification of crops and forcing small farmers out of business - I hope we are not accusing them of things they didn't do!
I prefer to think of it as an energy of awakening to what is controlling aspects of our world, not as a fad for lambasting Monsanto. If Monsanto or other such outfits are truly neutral, they will handily survive any temporary errors, IMO. They have way way more resources than you and I do. I cannot worry about them too much. The whole myth that a corporation is a person is one of the roots of this mess. Monsanto per se has no feelings to be hurt or rights to a fair trial or any of that, it is entirely a legal fiction that they do, and one that ought to be done away with, IMO.
Isn't it interesting that as this bill is being reviewed in committee, we now have another salmonella scare with pistachios in order to get people all lathered up to demand legislation to "save" them from these things. This is the classic "problem, reaction, solution" scenario that has been used so successfully in the recent past (read: bailouts) to push legislation through, things that people and representatives would otherwise rebel against if they knew the real truth about it.
Okay, here's a list of all the Food Bills pending in Congress. It is NOT just about HR875 that we need to voice any concerns.
If you go to the link at the bottom of the list, you can click on each Bill to read the full text.
Food Law Legislation Pending in the 110th Congress
S. 654 and H.R. 1148, the Safe Food Act
H.R. 3624, the Consumer Food Safety Act
H.R. 3610, the Food and Drug Import Safety Act
S. 1776, the Imported Food Security Act
S. 1274 and H.R. 2108, the Human and Pet Food Safety Act
S. 2077, the Fresh Produce Safety Act
H.R. 3484, the SAFER Meat, Poultry, and Food Act
H.R. 3485, the TRACE Act
S. 1292, the Meat and Poultry Products Traceability and Safety Act.
H.R. 2997, the Assured Food Safety Act
S. 2081, the Food and Product Responsibility Act
H.R. 3937, the Food Import Safety Act http://www.cspinet.org/foodsafety/foodbills.html
Garden mermaid, I think it is more that it's a bandwagon legislators know they better jump on... each one has interests to represent and favors to repay etc -- if it is being orchestrated behind the scenes (which I believe many things are) it is being done in more subtle ways, IMO. This here is just how the so-called system so-called functions. ;-)
Nope... Everyone wants to be on some bandwagon these days. For members of congress, it's the bandwagon of "I am protecting you" of our (food) safety... or maybe the bandwagon of "I'm looking out for YOUR best interests". For industry, it's the bandwagon of "look how GREEN our company is"... ad nauseum.
Whether the bandwagon is truly what it says it is, is an entirely different matter because they KNOW the American public generally doesn't look below the surface. All they have to do is present the Image...
Gloria125 - IMHO, the real truth about these bills is that they are not designed to make our food supply safer. Instead, they are designed to solidify the dominance of the big agribusiness corporations and eliminate independent food growers through onerous legislation and requirements that only the big corps can meet. This is an example of doublespeak, as in the 1984 "ministry of truth" being all about disseminating propaganda, and the "ministry of health" all about causing disease. Whatever they say it is for, be assured that it is for the opposite purpose. The bailouts were supposedly to help the economy, but what they really were for was to refill the pockets of the super-wealthy because they had made some very costly and very bad investment decisions.
I think I posted above the mission statement from the Monsanto web site. They (say) they are all about "food safety" and "sustainability".
But what they seem to mean by those words is not what most people think those words mean. They have become "buzz words" that people can say anything they want to make a meaningless statement. And of course "green" only means green in their pockets.
Darius, thank you for the list of all the food bills. I think it is another case of over-protection or fear mongering and someone stands to make money on it. Probably not small farmers or people who support them.
I stayed up reading some of this until I was nearly cross eyed and brain dead last night. This is the list from the .gov site in the first post in this thread.
I started out with Darius' list above and found it strange that everything had an old date and I didn't see anything about HR875. That's an old list from 2007 and now we're into the 111th Congress and 2009. Evidently not much, if anything, got passed into law from that list. Now it's another round of the same and then some.
I read the text of 3 of these items and had great difficulty with all the legalese. My impressions are that much of this would be a good thing but I just don't see it as really being possible to manage. It would require hiring an army of inspectors and another army of paper shufflers. They do provide for fees for second and subsequent inspections but there seems to be plenty of loopholes that would still leave the tax payers on the hook for mega bucks. It speaks of denying imports from non-compliant countries but I doubt we have the political will to really say no when our financial situation has become that of a beggar nation.
The government simply cannot be everywhere all of the time and that's what they're trying to do or at least appear to do. The only sensible thing I can see is to put the burden on the industry with penalties so swift and severe that they'd not dare to be negligent. I want to see all imports labeled as such and let people decide if they want to take that chance.
Bill Status Last Action
H.R. 875: Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 Introduced Feb 4, 2009
S. 425: Food Safety and Tracking Improvement Act Introduced Feb 12, 2009
H.R. 759: Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act of 2009 Introduced Jan 28, 2009
S. 429: Ending Agricultural Threats: Safeguarding America's Food for Everyone (EAT SAFE) Act of 2009 Introduced Feb 12, 2009
H.R. 999: Keeping America's Food Safe Act of 2009 Introduced Feb 11, 2009
S. 384: Global Food Security Act of 2009 Reported by Committee Mar 31, 2009
H.R. 185: Sewage Sludge in Food Production Consumer Notification Act Introduced Jan 6, 2009
S. 92: Imported Seafood Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 Introduced Jan 6, 2009
H.R. 815: Safe And Fair Enforcement and Recall for Meat, Poultry, and Food Act of 2009 Introduced Feb 3, 2009
H.R. 1332: Safe FEAST Act of 2009 Introduced Mar 5, 2009
Hey twiggybuds... you did good, girl! Thanks for taking the time to look up the current bills/dates. I posted what I found on the fly (time is at a premium for me right now) but at least it got some discussion going.
I agree that all imports should be so labeled, but I want imported ingredients labeled also. There are no such directives at this time.
Ya'll STOP already. I'm just trying to be an informed citizen, which is impossible IMHO. You only have to read one of these and it becomes clear why our legislators vote for bills they haven't read. In the future I'll stick with independent sources and try to figure out which ones are truly objective.