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FDA & Agribusiness

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  • FDA & Agribusiness

    My first post.

    It appears that a bill passed yesterday giving a lot more power to the FDA to regulate the food supply. There may be serious consequences for Paleo.

    I have provided a copy of an overview article where i first came across it today.

    __________________________________________________ ____________________

    A Patriot Act for Food?

    Mark Nestmann (December 1, 2010)

    “Control food and you control people.”
    –Henry Kissinger, Former Secretary of State

    Leave it to Congress to make criminals out of organic farmers and anyone else having anything to do with the production, distribution, or sale of food. Yesterday, the U.S. Senate enacted S-510, the “FDA Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010.”

    It’s the equivalent of a USA PATRIOT Act…for food. Yes, for food. And since a companion act in the House of Representatives has already been enacted, the bill will become effective as soon as President Obama signs it.

    S. 510 empowers the FDA to regulate every aspect of food production and processing. Nothing is to be exempted…your grandchild’s lemonade stand is probably a “food distribution facility.” So is your back yard organic garden.

    Organic farmers, though, are the most likely target of this bill. For instance, a growing number of consumers purchase raw, unpasteurized milk from dairy farmers. It’s true that this poses a potential health risk. The farmer must apply scrupulous hygienic standards, and also insure cows don’t eat poisonous plants that could contaminate the milk. Pasteurization eliminates most of this risk.

    Because of the risks of raw milk, the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and many other organizations have recommended banning its production. And under the authority of this bill, the FDA could issue regulations to do exactly that.

    Certainly, problems do exist in our food supply. The CDC estimates that food born diseases cause 5,000 deaths in the United States annually.

    However, the vast majority of these deaths come from “factory agriculture”—large-scale agribusiness operations. But, under this “Food PATRIOT Act,” the FDA could force even the smallest family owned farms to follow the same regulations as large-scale food operations.

    Another part of this bill effectively outlaws any “unsafe medications.” Taken to its logical conclusion, this provision could extend to dietary supplements and herbal products. Any dietary supplement the FDA hasn’t certified as safe could be banned, or not made available without a doctor’s prescription.

    Such a ban is already in effect throughout the EU. Indeed, when I was living in Austria, and received a package of nutritional supplements in the mail, I was hauled before a tribunal and forced to explain (in German!) why I was importing “illegal drugs” into Austria. It turns out that under Austrian law, importing any nutritional supplement containing more than 100% of the recommended daily requirement for any vitamin or mineral is generally illegal.

    The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act is billed as a way to safeguard our food supply. But what it actually does is protect the interests of agribusiness against organic farmers, lemonade-toting toddlers, and Vitamin C-guzzling seniors. I don’t have anything against agribusiness or any other business. But, I do object when powerful corporate interests lobby Congress to enact legislation that enriches those interests at the expense of everyone else. And that’s exactly what the act does.

    Much depends upon how the FDA chooses to issue regulations to interpret this act. It’s possible that the FDA may choose to sensibly exempt small food producers, organic farmers, and dietary supplements that haven’t been proven harmful from its reach. But don’t count on it.

    Copyright © 2010 by Mark Nestmann

  • #2
    Apparently it may not be a done deal. There are tax provisions in the bill and those are supposed to originate in the House. Some discussions going on now on how to handle it. Hopefully it'll die or be delayed until the next congress.
    Start weight 403 09/29/2010
    Current weight 335
    On my way to becoming half the man I used to be...


    • #3
      Ban the FDA!


      • #4
        that's not an overview, that's a pretty biased fear mongering article. from what i have read, farms that make less than $500,000 from their crops [someone correct me if i'm wrong] are not affected by this bill.


        HANDS OFF MY BACON :: my primal journal


        • #5
          I have three reasons for questioning this bill.

          1. The FDA has done a poor job of using the tools it already has.
          2. It was pushed through in a lame duck session of Congress with little to no grassroots support (i.e. why the urgency).
          3. Monsanto supports it.

          The 500,000 exemption is seemingly a good thing. I don't know if it will completely eliminate the burden on smaller producers or not. To the best of my knowledge that number isn't indexed to inflation, so at some point it will affect smaller operations.
          Last edited by Uncledave; 12-02-2010, 01:08 PM. Reason: spelling
          Start weight 403 09/29/2010
          Current weight 335
          On my way to becoming half the man I used to be...


          • #6
            Reminds me of back in the 1970's when the big orange producers in Florida got a law passed that called for the destruction of every orange tree that wasn't on one of their groves. Reason---a disease of orange trees. Funny thing is that the disease was on all of the big orange grower's groves or orchards--whatever--and not on the orange trees that were in just about everyone's yard.

            Nice to have politicians in your pocket. Nice to be a politician being paid for 'pocketability'.
            Tayatha om bekandze

            Bekandze maha bekandze

            Randza samu gate soha


            • #7
              The FDA in general has very limited power to prevent outbreaks currently which pretty much explains why our food isn't really as safe as many people would like to believe. The FDA currently has and will continue even after this bill to have no actual authority over any farms, organic or conventional. The only time that the FDA has any say in anything having to do with farms is in pasteurized milk, everything else is the USDA. Overall there's a whole lot of fear mongering going on about this bill which is most likely spread about by a healthy mix of uninformed consumers and people working for food processing companies who wish to continue enjoying severely unregulated regulation.

              Actually the florida citrus fiasco was related to the fact that the disease can be spread airborne over very vast distances. The policies were aimed at the destruction of any citrus tree within that potentially effected radius of a known infection site. Florida oranges are already no where near as "pretty" as california oranges and the widespread infestation of this cosmetic disease could have negatively impacted one of florida's main crops. I think they had assumed to have completely eradicated it after those earlier efforts but when it resurfaced in the late 90s they gave up on trying to completely control it (not before having destroyed the vast majority of residential citrus trees unfortunately).
              Last edited by ProtoAlex; 12-04-2010, 01:47 AM.
              "You can demonstrate the purpose and limits of human digestion with a simple experiment: eat a steak with some whole corn kernels, and see what comes out the other end. It won’t be the steak."


              • #8
                Just wait until you are all lining up for your daily allowance of soylent green.
                A steak a day keeps the doctor away


                • #9
                  Yeah, why fear when the level is set at $500K? I mean, it's not like the feds would ever adjust that level to suit their own needs for having more farmers fall into their revenue machine...


                  • #10
                    Every Day is a New Adventure


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by batty View Post
                      that's not an overview, that's a pretty biased fear mongering article. from what i have read, farms that make less than $500,000 from their crops [someone correct me if i'm wrong] are not affected by this bill.

                      I'm definitely biased against the murderers and thieves of the US federal government.

                      That $500,000 is total sales. A family farm can sell over $500,000 and still make only $50,000 or so in profit. That is by no means a lot of money.

                      It's also not indexed for inflation, so when a loaf of bread costs a trillion dollars (as it does in Zimbabwe now) then every single farmer in the country will fall under this.

                      NOTHING good will come of this, even if the hysteria is overblown the bill is completely unecessary and won't make anyone or anything safe.