HR 2749 (Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009) Passes House
Cathy Raymond, of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund reports that The U.S. House of Representative passed HR 2749 by a vote of 283 to 141. The next step for the bill is the Senate. It is likely the Senate will not consider HR2749 until they return from their summer recess. The FTCLDF website will continue to provide updates on the progress of the bill.
One Congressman, Representative Farr called the legislation “historic, landmark and way overdue.”
On the other hand, I would say, HR2749 is way over the top at a cost of 1.5 billion to the American taxpayer! My Congressman’s office told me that “all this bill does is give the FDA more power and more money to protect us.” I told him, “that is the last thing I want is for the FDA to have more power and more control over small farms.”
The FDA has already demonstrated its inability to protect us from food borne illness outbreaks. In fact, Congress is giving them a reward for their failures, in an effort to look like they are doing the right thing for America.
This bill would give almost unlimited power to the FDA, and gives them the right to fine and even jail farmers, making farming a potential crime (if you break whatever rules they decide to impose).
If, instead of trying to regulate safety, America got serious about shifting back to a decentralized food system, we could save the 1.5 billion on this fake food safety measure.
Remember Lady Bird Johnson’s “Beautify America” campaign? Why not have our First Lady, Michele Obama, who has already planted her own organic kitchen garden at the White House, start a campaign for “Re-farming America.” The networks may even run the campaign as an Ad Council pro-bono ad!
The only true path to safety is to move away from unsustainable systems that rely heavily on government subsidy, federal price supports, federal control and excessive regulation. These waves of large scale food borne illness are just the leading indicators of a system collapsing under its own weight.
For instance, a California farmer contacted me recently about the water shortages in her state that are threatening to destroy crops. If California wasn’t trying to feed the whole country, the all to common droughts and water shortages they experience would not be such a big deal. Reviving rural communities nationwide by the rebirth of local agriculture would spread the water usage around, and California farms wouldn’t be so vulnerable.
Instead, our well-meaning politicians are falling all over themselves to look heroic, as they tighten the noose around farming families nationwide. I contend that government regulation is what has driven many of America’s family farms under, and just as local farming is making a comeback (in no small part, due to the efforts of Sally Fallon Morell and her Weston A. Price Foundation) massive and sweeping new laws are moving through Congress.
If you are concerned about this huge power grab by the FDA, please contact not only your Congressional Representative, but also your Senator. They need to be educated about the impact on food safety of these food safety regs. They are going the wrong way, they do not realize the potential of local foods to revive this land and protect us from harm. You can make a difference by telling them your story.
A Commentary by Kimberly HartkeKimberly Hartke is the publicist for the Weston A. Price Foundation. She and her husband buy 85% of their groceries directly from local farms. They sponsor several farm drops at their National Realty office in Reston, VA as a community service.
This post is part of the Fight Back Fridays blog carnival on Food Renegade blog. Check here for more get radical ideas!