Senate Bill S.510, The Food Safety Bill

Senate Bill S.510, The Food Safety Bill

(This post was from Dr.Gonzalez http://www.drgonzalez.com please support him and his site)

Because of public pressure, several of the most draconian and oppressive
components of the legislation have been deleted.  But the remaining
legislation remains a nightmare of excessive regulation and cost.  The
impetus of the bill is trade groups representing large-scale industrial
agriculture, who are hoping the regulations and expense for those trying to
comply with the law will put small organic farmers out of business.  The FDA
already has full authority to insure food safety; the recent outbreaks of
food borne illness represent failure on the FDA’s part, not a need for even
more legislation.

The law was intended also to attack supplement manufacturers under the guise
of  food safety, with criminal penalties of ten years for a company that
didn’t file paperwork properly. We have been told that the more onerous
regulations have been deleted, but it is still critical that you contact
your Senators and express your opposition to this bill which will be up for
full Senate vote next Monday.  Below is a memo from the Weston Price
Foundation about the bill.  As you scroll down you will find a link to the
Senate to help you contact your Senators.

UPDATE ON FOOD SAFETY LEGISLATION
Agribusiness shows its true colors!

Last week, the Senate voted 74-25 to move to consideration of S.510, the
Food Safety Modernization Act.  After thirty hours of debate and
behind-the-scenes negotiations, the Senators released a final Managers
Amendment that includes a compromise version of the Tester-Hagan amendment.
Thank you to all our members who have called and written over the last
several months to help protect local foods!

But even though an agreement was reached on the Tester-Hagan amendment last
week, the issue is still not over.  The final vote on the bill has been
delayed until Monday, November 29, due to disagreements over amendments
relating to the health care bill and a ban on earmarks.  And, in the
meantime, Agribusiness has shown its true colors.

For over a year, the big Agribusiness trade organizations have supported
passage of S.510.  From Agribusinesss perspective, the bill was a win-win:
they could absorb the costs of the regulations because of their size; theyd
gain good PR for supposedly improving food safety practices; and the
competition created by local food producers, which is rapidly growing, would
be crushed by the regulatory burdens.

This was only speculation until now.  But when the Senators agreed to
include the Tester-Hagan amendment in the bill, to exempt small-scale
direct-marketing producers from some of the most burdensome provisions,
twenty Agribusiness trade organizations fired off a letter stating that they
would now oppose the bill.

The letter from the Agribusiness groups states: [B]y incorporating the
Tester amendment in the bill, consumers will be left vulnerable to the
gaping holes and uneven application of the law created by these exemptions.
In addition, it sets an unfortunate precedent for future action on food
safety policy by Congress that science and risk-based standards can be
ignored.

<http://www.unitedfresh.org/assets/files/Letter%20on%20Passage%20of%20S%20%20510%20and%20Tester%20Amendment.pdf>

What science and risk?  No one has produced any data or evidence of any
widespread problems caused by local producers and marketed directly to
consumers.  All of the major foodborne illness outbreaks have been caused by
products that went through the long supply chains of Agribusiness.
Agribusinesss real concern about the Tester-Hagan amendment isnt food
safety, but the precedent set by having Congress recognize that small,
direct-marketing producers are different, and should be regulated
differently than large Agribusinesses.

Agribusiness is trying to convince the Senators to pull the Tester-Hagan
amendment back out.  While the amendment is currently part of the Managers
Package  the amended version of the bill agreed to by six bipartisan
sponsors  nothing is certain until the actual vote.

ACTION TO TAKE
This Thanksgiving week, please take a moment to call or email your Senators
to tell them to hold firm on KEEPING the Tester-Hagan amendment part of the
bill.

You can call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 or go to www.senate.gov
to find their website (if the phone lines are busy, the best way to reach
them is through the Contact Page on their website)

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