HR 2749, the “Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009” is the latest in a series of misguided “food safety” legislation that  utilizes a failed “one-size-fits-all regulatory scheme”. The legislation is completely absent effective regulation for US food imports and corporate agribusiness behemoths such as Monsanto, ADM, Con Agra and Cargill (primary causes of food safety failures).  HR 2749 clearly favors the increased greed of the corporate industrial food complex while shifting the cost to small, local farmers, local food producers. It must be stopped at once.
There’s more.
According to Farm to Consumer.org, a non-profit organization protecting the constitutional rights of  small family farms and consumers, “this bill would be an “absolute disaster for small farms and artisan food production”.
Here is the skinny on the HR 2749:
HR 2749 gives FDA tremendous power while significantly diminishing existing judicial restraints on actions taken by the agency. Power to Quarantine a Geographic Area; the FDA can also Halt All Movement of All Food in a geographic area.
  • Random Warrantless Searches of Business Records
  • Establishing a Tracing System for Food
  • Severe Criminal and Civil Penalties.
  • Annual Registration Fee of $500
  • Regulation of How Crops Are Raised and Harvested

HR 2749 does not address underlying causes of food safety problems such as industrial agriculture practices and the consolidation of our food supply. The industrial food system and food imports are badly in need of effective regulation, but the HR 2749 does not specifically direct regulation or resources to these areas.

TRACEABILITY OF FOOD OR A BACKDOOR PATH TO THE NAIS

Section 107 of the proposed legislation outlines the use of “a unique identifier for each facility owned and operated”. I find this section of HR 2749 rather curious if not sneaky, specifically given the overwhelming opposition to the USDA’s, National Animal Identification System (NAIS) and the privacy issues associated. Consider that, HR 2749 requires a person, farm or facility to register, pay annual registration fees and an ID is issued for compliance and traceability. Isn’t this NAIS?

Go here to learn more or sign the petition to end this legislation.

We have a lot to lose:

While corporate agribusiness stresses institutionalized organization, hierarchical decision making, volume, speed, standardization of the food supply and extracting as much production from the land as quickly and impersonally as possible, family farmers and peasants strive through order, labor, pride in the quality of their work, and a certain strength of character and sense of community to take from the land only what it is willing to give so as not to damage its dependability or diminish its sustainability. 

But the so-called “conventional wisdom” in agriculture historically has been that through the continual substituting of capital for efficiency and technology for labor “inefficient” farm operators are eliminated by “market forces” while those who survive manage to thrive.

Such “wisdom” also perpetuates the myth that the world’s agricultural system is still dominated by independent family-operated farms and with the ever-increasing elimination of “inefficient producers” — “excess human resources” — we will witness a never-ending expansion of production to feed the world.

Nowhere has this “conventional wisdom” been more apparent and become the driving force of a nation’s agricultural and food policy than in the United States. Today, such policies derived from such “wisdom” are being exported globally by the U.S. by way of corporate agribusiness and its merchants of greed’s self-serving trade policies. Thus, it is imperative that farm and food policy makers, family farmers, peasants, workers and consumers world wide understand the implications and dire consequences of such “conventional wisdom,” for to ignore or dismiss corporate agribusiness’s inefficiencies as merely anti-capitalist rhetoric is to do so at their own future peril.

AMEN

The excerpt above is from The Merchants of Greed.

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