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The article below makes clear a part, but only a part, of why Senator Harkin’s misnamed “Food Safety” Bill, S. 510, must be defeated. Another part, of course, is that, as we predicted, the worst, most anti-supplement-and-nutrient parts of Senator McCain’s absurd and disastrous S. 30032 have been added into the Harkin bill. So McCain is off the hook, Harkin’s bill would destroy small farms, including virtually every family or personal, non-corporate farm. For what? To give the gift that keeps on giving: the entire food supply of the United States is, with the passage of this bill, handed over to Big Agribiz, the giant multinational consortium that is already producing most of, and contaminating most of, our food.
Big Agribiz is perfectly happy to use the shoddiest of practices to produce the dirtiest of food: they know that enforcement and penalties are meaningless. This bill will make them more so.
They are happy to use the cheapest of contaminated ingredients, artificial colors, GMO and chemical vat derived flavors, ingredients, neurotoxins like MSG to provide beef flavor instead of beef to provide flavor, import cheaper and cheaper food ingredients to make sure that their profit is maintained, and devil take the hinder most. And we, the eating public, are of course, the hinder most.
Big Agribiz is perfectly delighted to source GMO food which will give us cancer, create autoimmune diseases, render us infertile, give us lethal allergies never seen before and perfectly OK with the fact that these “foods” are laced with extraordinary, and increasing, levels of herbicides, pesticides and other chemicals that have the very real capacity of wreaking havoc with our health and with our DNA, damaging the genetic heritage of not only our environment, but our human ancestors for all times to come.
Big Agribiz could not be more pleased with the bill before the Senate. Indeed, they wrote it, lock, stock and barrel. So far, the concerted and tireless actions of you and me have kept this horrific bill from moving forward in the Congress. Its companion bill has, in fact, passed the House. But the Senate action has been delayed by one thing: our continuing pressure.
I am just as opposed to this bill as I was when it was first introduced into Congress many months ago. I am, not that I think about it, more incensed because, with the addition of the McCain bill provisions, it is actually worse than it was then. So I know that you will want to keep up the pressure. It is, quite literally, a matter of life and death to do so. The life of clean food farming, including your personal clean food production is at stake here and, with it, your life. Clean food = clean health. Poor food = poor health. This is so simple that it hardly bears repeating. In fact, it is the very premise, standing on its head, upon which Codex Alimentarius is based.
Big Pharma, at least the German genocidalist version of Big Pharma, the part controlled directly by John D. Rockefeller, Jr., decided that this simple truth was the crux of a huge profit margin for them while they finished what the Third Reich had failed to do: cleanse the world’s populations of the “useless eaters”, those who, like you and I, live “lives not worth living”. They decided to degrade the world’s food supply so that they could make sure that their potential clients were sick and dying of what the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization labeled, in their Joint Special Report in 2003, http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/publications/trs916/en/, “the PREVENTABLE, NON COMMUNICABLE chronic degenerative diseases of under nutrition: cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke, diabetes and obesity” [emphasis added – REL]. These conditions are, by the way, not only the leading cause of death in the developed world, but the leading money makers for the illness care industry.
Now Big Agribiz, which uses enormous amounts of chemical inputs to produce degraded food, both animal and plant, and which IS also Big Chema, as well as Big Biotech and Big Pharma, wants to bring this global Codex-compliant degradation home to the US all at one fell swoop, to make sure that none of us is healthy, none of us can escape their system and none of us has any choices.
We believe this is worth pulling out the stops for so that we do have the option to source clean, unadulterated food, produced by people of principle, including YOU in your own garden.
PS: The Natural Solutions Foundation will be attending the very significant Codex Committee on Food Labeling at the beginning of May. Please make your generous donation now to assure that we can be there to bring you a first hand view of this important meeting by clicking here, http://drrimatruthreports.com/?page_id=189.
Food Safety in the US: We’re on Red Alert
The United States once had one of the safest food systems in the world, but now, 70 million Americans are sickened, 300,000 are hospitalized, and 5,000 die from food-borne illness every year. It is a sad fact: since 9/11, far more Americans have been killed, injured or hurt because of our lack of a coordinated food safety system than by terrorist acts that challenge our Homeland Security system.
The culprits in this assault on American wellbeing aren’t shadowy terrorist figures, but rather, they are what most consumers would identify as wholesome — not harmful — foods. Peanuts, lettuce, pistachios, spinach, hamburgers sold to Boy Scout camps, peppers, tomatoes, and pepper-coated sausages are among the foods that have sickened and killed Americans in just the last few years. Our children are most at risk from these food threats, with half of all food-borne illness striking children under 15 years old.
The Bush administration constantly claimed it was protecting Americans from potential security threats, yet it completely failed to protect the public from the clear and present danger of deadly food. Due in part to that administration’s cuts in funding and staff, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently inspects less than 25% of all food facilities in the U.S. More than 50% of all American food facilities have gone uninspected for five years or more. During President Bush’s last term, regulatory actions against those companies selling contaminated food to Americans declined by over a half (Office of the Inspector General: FDA’s Food Facility Registry. Report: OEI-02-08-00060, December 2009).
[Note, while essential food inspections are being decreased, FDA appears to be using its recent 23% budget increase to attack Dietary Supplements, Herbal and Natural Remedies, including such harmless relaxation modalities as Holistic (Ear) Candles! REL]
The result is tragically predictable. Large processing facilities, which now mix foods from across the country and the world, are not being inspected. Illnesses caused by contaminated foods, which could be prevented with proper government oversight, are instead causing the hospitalization of hundreds of thousands and the deaths of thousands of Americans. Again, the victims are, disproportionately, our children.
The tens of millions of victims of food-borne illness represent only one segment of the casualties from our failure to require safe and nutritious food. Because of lax regulation of agricultural chemicals, many of the fruits and vegetables that should bring us health and nutrition are instead laced with dangerous pesticides, dozens of which are known carcinogens. Much of the food marketed to our children and served in their schools are confections brimming with trans-fats and high-fructose corn syrup; these contribute mightily to the epidemic of obesity in the young and heart disease and diabetes in our older populations. Under pressure from agribusiness, our federal agencies and legislators continue to commercialize genetically modified foods with no safety testing and no labeling for consumers. And, despite the strong potential of health hazards, food made with new, nanotechnology-based chemicals are getting waived through to the market, without any independent testing at all.
Clearly our food safety system is broken and needs a complete overhaul. With the continuing string of food contamination scandals, even Congress has begun to pay attention. The Food Safety Enhancement Act (HR 2749) was passed by the House of Representatives in the summer of 2008 and takes some steps in the right direction. It gives more authority to the FDA, restoring some of its power to conduct food inspections and strengthen oversight.
However, it’s far from perfect. Bowing to pressure from agribusiness, lawmakers have exempted livestock producers and any other entity regulated by the USDA from the new regulations of both this act and its Senate companion, the Food Safety Modernization Act (S.510). In fact, members of Congress were so committed to the interests of big industrial meat producers that they also prohibited the FDA from “impeding, minimizing, or affecting” USDA authority on meat, poultry, and eggs. As a result, these bills contain the stupefying provision that no attempt by the FDA to combat E. coli and Salmonella will be allowed. These bacteria are the most common causes of deadly food-borne illness and are found in products contaminated with animal feces. Since January 2010, over 850,000 pounds of beef — mostly from industrial feed lots — has been recalled due to E. coli O157:H7 contamination. The members of Congress have essentially protected the interests of corporations who are bad actors, while condemning the public to continued sickness from these contaminants.
Another major problem with both bills is that they begin with the flawed premise that all producers and processors of food — whether massive corporate farms or small family farms — are equally at fault for our broken food safety system. New food safety legislation should target the largest causes of food-borne illness. These include concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), water and field contamination due to manure lagoon leakage, and industrial processing systems, not small farms.
The “one size fits all” regulatory approach in these bills fails to take this disparity into account. It instead places an undue and unsupportable burden on family farms, small processors, and direct marketers of organic and locally grown food. These have not been contributors to the contamination events which have caused major food-borne illness outbreaks, a fact that was acknowledged by FDA Deputy Director Michael R. Taylor at a July 2009 House Oversight Subcommittee on Domestic Policy hearing on Ready-to-Eat Vegetables and Leafy Green Agreements.
It is unconscionable that factory farms would get a pass under the proposed legislation while family farmers, who often struggle to stay in operation, are held to stringent, unnecessary and potentially bankrupting requirements. Small operators would bear the brunt of large fees that generate the revenue sufficient for the overall food safety program to operate. Food safety regulation at the farm and processing level must be appropriate to scale and level of risk.
Fortunately, some Senators are addressing the gaps in their bill. Perhaps the most critical action so far is that of Sen. Tester (D-MT), who has introduced an amendment to exempt small-scale and direct marketing farmers and processors, who are already well regulated by local authorities.
However, most problematic is that the legislation in its current state perpetuates the regulatory tangle that is our food safety system. Arcane mixes of regulatory authority between the FDA, USDA and EPA make for dangerously inefficient government. It is long overdue that we establish a separate and effective government agency dedicated to food safety. We need to separate out the ‘Food’ part of the Food and Drug Administration and consolidate all authority under a new Food Safety Agency.
We did this for Homeland Security; we should also do it for food security. After all, it is the lack of food safety in this country that is the far more imminent threat to all of us, our families and, especially, our children.
Andrew Kimbrell is the Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety