Thursday, July 30, 2009

More Indigestible Food Safety Measures

My stomach hurts.

The House just passed H.R. 2749 The Food Safety Enhancment Act. People are calling it "historic" and "long overdue".

I call it a kick in the pants to farmers and the consumers that care for real food.

FDA Incompetence
Food contamination deaths number 5,000/year
Death by medical error number 195,000/year

If the FDA is doing such a great job of "Safety" Police, what are they doing to stop medical errors, including deaths by correctly administered drugs, fatal drug interactions, administration of mislabeled drugs and over-prescription of antibiotics?

Next, they made lots of talk about exeptions to rules for small, organic farmers and direct-to-consumer sales but....

Our farmers aren't certified organic. They are "sustainable" or "non-toxic". Once the USDA took over the label, farmers didn't want to play by USDA guidelines. These farmers will fall in the cracks, just wait and see. "Certified Organic" will be exempt, but certification will likely cost them more than HR2749 fees.

Small Farmer Exempt
This keeps our small farmers small, rather than encouraging them to grow. That's unAmerican.

This is the name of the game, and I'm happy to hear it talked about in the halls of Congress, but they gave examples of sales to restaurants and grocery stores as "direct-to-consumer" sales. I'm worried that if they don't know what "direct" means, they won't know what "small" or "organic" means as well.

High Risk Food
Any farmer selling FDA defined "high risk" items (like raw milk) will still get the FDA evil eye, and likely the evil boot.

Enough is Enough
Our farmers are ALREADY overburdened by regulations. See the Fund page for more information about SWARMS (one reg won't hurt, but swarms of them can and do kill small farm initiatives) and FARM RAIDS and SWAT TEAM VISITS to Food Coops.

When I say Grace, I thank God, the Cook and the Farmers.

Let's keep them in our prayers these days.

We cannot underestimate their contribution to our wellbeing.

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