I have been in contact with both of my senators, Sen Johnny Isakson and Sen Saxby Chambliss, both Republicans from the great state of Georgia. Both are not only in favor of S.510, but to my dismay, both are cosponsors of the bill.
I laid out a very thoughtful request for both of them not to support the bill. I received a reply a few weeks later and at best I will call both responses condescending and at worst dismissive of my concerns. Below, you will some information that the senate isn't making very public, some of those "gotta pass it to find out what's in it" tidbits. I urge you to contact your senators and ask them not to support this legislation.
There is a bill before the U.S. Senate that has the potential to change the U.S. food industry more than any other law ever passed by the U.S. Congress. In the name of "food safety", the U.S. government would be given an iron grip over the production, transportation and sale of all food in the United States. Hordes of small food producers and organic farmers could potentially be put out of business. If this bill becomes law, the freedom to grow what you want, eat what you want and to share food from your gardens with your neighbors could be greatly curtailed. It would give the FDA unprecedented discretion to regulate U.S. food production. A version of this bill was already passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last summer, and now S. 510, also known as the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, is in front of the U.S. Senate and it is expected to pass easily.
Because of how vaguely it is written and because of how much discretion it gives to the FDA, it is potentially a very, very dangerous law.
So who is actually in favor of it?
Well, big food corporations and big agriculture are actually very much in favor of this bill.
Is it because they are so concerned about food safety?
In fact, virtually every major case of food contamination in recent U.S. history has come from large-scale industrial agriculture or large-scale industrial food production.
The real reason why they are backing S. 510 is because it will devastate their primary competition – small food producers and organic farmers.
In recent years, the demand for organic food has skyrocketed as the American people have learned the truth about how our food is actually made. Big agriculture and the giant food producers are losing profits as Americans increasingly vote with their wallets.
So now the food giants are using "food safety" as a way to get market share back. It is an open secret that many of those involved in drafting this bill and in pushing it through Congress have ties to food industry giants.
Thousands of small food producers and organic farmers will have their very existence threatened by this bill. It imposes a bureaucratic nightmare on all food producers that the big corporations will be able to handle easily but that will cripple much smaller operations.
Already, many farmers can see the writing on the wall. One small farmer recently described the mood among her fellow small farmers to the Wall Street Journal....
"I know people who have been small farmers for 25 to 30 years who are looking to get out of the business because food safety is becoming so alarmist."
But the bureaucratic nightmare is just the tip of the iceberg. To get an idea of just how dangerous S. 510 could potentially be to the already staggering U.S. economy, just check out the following quote from one opponent of this bill....
"If accepted [S 510] would preclude the public’s right to grow, own, trade, transport, share, feed and eat each and every food that nature makes. It will become the most offensive authority against the cultivation, trade and consumption of food and agricultural products of one’s choice. It will be unconstitutional and contrary to natural law or, if you like, the will of God."
~ Dr. Shiv Chopra, Canada Health whistle blower
It would be hard to understate how dangerous this bill potentially could be. This bill gives the FDA the ability to exercise a ton of discretion. The FDA could end up exercising that discretion in a very reasonable way, or they could use it to shut down small food producers left and right.
When it comes to S. 510, the question that you need to ask yourself is this....
Do you trust the FDA?
If not, then there are some very real reasons for you to be concerned.
The following are 12 reasons why S. 510 could be absolutely disastrous for small food producers and for the U.S. economy....
#1 All food production facilities in the United States will be required to register with the U.S. government. No food will be allowed to be grown, distributed or sold outside this bureaucratic framework unless the FDA allows it.
#2 Any food that is distributed or sold outside of U.S. government control will be considered illegal smuggling.
#3 The FDA will hire an army of new inspectors to enforce all of the new provisions in the bill.
#4 The FDA will be mandated to conduct much more frequent inspections of food processing facilities.
#5 The fees and paperwork requirements will be ruinously expensive for small food producers and organic farms.
#6 S. 510 would place all U.S. food and all U.S. farms under the Department of Homeland Security in the event of a major "contamination" or an "emergency". What exactly would constitute a "contamination" or an "emergency" is anyone's guess.
#7 S. 510 mandates that the FDA facilitate harmonization of American food laws with Codex Alimentarius.
#8 S. 510 imposes an annual registration fee on any facility that holds, processes, or manufactures food. It also includes draconian fines for paperwork infractions of up to $500,000 for a single offense. Just one penalty like that would drive a small food producer out of business.
#9 S. 510 would give the FDA tremendous discretion to regulate how crops are grown and how food is produced in the United States. Basically, small farmers and organic farmers will now be forced to farm exactly how the federal government tells them to. It is feared that the U.S. government would soon declare that many organic farming methods are "unsafe" and would outlaw them. In addition, there is the very real possibility that at some point the U.S. government could decide that the only "safe" seed for a particular crop is genetically modified seed and would require all farmers to use it.
#10 S. 510 will give the FDA the power to impose a quarantine on a specific geographic area. Basically the FDA would have the power to stop the movement of all food in an area where a "contamination" has been identified. This would be very close to being able to declare martial law.
#11 S. 510 will give the FDA the power to conduct warrantless searches of the business records of small food producers and organic farmers, even if there has been no evidence at all that a law has been broken.
#12 Opponents of S. 510 believe that it would eliminate the right to clean and store seed. Therefore, control of the U.S. seed supply would be further centralized in the hands of Monsanto and other multinational corporations.
As mentioned above, this bill gives the FDA a ton of discretion. It is written very broadly and very vaguely. It opens the door for all kinds of abuses, but that doesn't mean that the FDA will behave unreasonably.
So should we trust the FDA?
Is there a viable future for small food producers and organic farmers in America?
Or is the handwriting already on the wall?
"If people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny."
~ Thomas Jefferson