A new bill was dropped* on the hill in February 2009 – HR875 – that will create a Food Safety Administration. Just what we need…another government committee! This agency is supposed to “protect the public health by preventing food-borne illness, ensuring the safety of food (at food production facilities), improving research on contaminants leading to food-borne illness, and improving the security of food from international contamination, and other purposes.” What exactly are “other purposes” and when will we find out?
A food production facility has been defined as “any farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal feeding operation.” This would include:
All organic farms
All small farms
All family farms
Small family gardens – if you sell any produce to your neighbors
This bill will give the government the power to define what is “safe.” So if organic farmers are not using herbicide (created by Monsanto, Cargill, ADM, and about 35 other related Agri-giants) then the organic farms could instantly be put out of business.
Apparently anything organic is threatening to Big Agra – In December 2008, in LaGrange, Ohio, armed agents from the Ohio Department of Agriculture, the Loraine County Department of Health, and the local LaGrange police, raided the Manna Storehouse, a 60-member co-op. For six hours the family who have run the co-op since 1999, had their personal possessions ransacked; $10,000 worth of food was confiscated, as were computers and cell phones. The family, including the children and infants, was held at gunpoint.
The crime? Wanting to save money on bulk purchases of organic food. According to the Feds, the co-op was selling perishable food without a retail license. John and Jacqueline Stowers, who operate the co-op, are not selling to the general public, but rather to the members who pay a fee and had previously agreed to take full responsibility for the food they purchase.
Personally, I believe that the USDA and local health departments could serve the public more efficiently by cracking down on factory farmed meat and grocery store produce that is contaminated with Listeria, E. coli, and Salmonella. So far they are not doing their jobs!
Case in point…today a recall was placed on pistachio nuts that are apparently tainted with salmonella. Where are you USDA? How would herbicide have prevented the salmonella?
For the Stower’s and their co-op – the Buckeye Institute’s Center for Constitutional Law has filed a suit against the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Loraine County Health Department for violating the constitutional rights of the Stowers, arguing that all citizens have the right to purchase food directly from local growers. They also have the right to pool resources and distribute that food to neighbors without a government license. The Institute also states that it is the “right of peaceful citizens to be free from parliamentary police raids, searches and seizures which is guaranteed under the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution.”
Today a bill is before the legislature to end everything organic! Whether you eat organically or not is irrelevant. We The People have already paid billions in bonus’ to the employees of failed companies, and now we stand to lose our choice to purchase the type of food we prefer? Just how far will We The People allow Washington to go, anyway?
Please contact your Representatives and Senators and tell them you want them to vote NO on HR 875!
If you don’t have the contact information for your Senators, go to http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfmis for a list.
For the House go to: http://www.house.gov/writerep Put in your zip and you will get the name of your congressperson and their contact information.
*NOTE: HR 875 was introduced by Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat from the 3rd District of Connecticut, whose husband is a political strategist on the payroll of Monsanto. Do I smell conflict of interest?