Monday, April 19, 2010

Check This Out

I'm a little bit brainless and probably won't get to this research today. But I imagine myself being really up on things and here's my take.

The US Senate may be voting soon on S-510, The Food Safety and Modernization Act. The Congressional Research Summary states
FDA Food Safety Modernization Act - Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) to expand the authority of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (the Secretary) to regulate food, including by authorizing the Secretary to suspend the registration of a food facility. Requires each food facility to evaluate hazards and implement preventive controls. Directs the Secretary to assess and collect fees related to: (1) food facility reinspection; (2) food recalls; and (3) the voluntary qualified importer program. Requires the Secretary and the Secretary of Agriculture to prepare the National Agriculture and Food Defense Strategy. Requires the Secretary to: (1) identify preventive programs and practices to promote the safety and security of food; (2) promulgate regulations on sanitary food transportation practices; (3) develop a policy to manage the risk of food allergy and anaphylaxis in schools and early childhood education programs; (4) allocate inspection resources based on the risk profile of food facilities or food; (5) recognize bodies that accredit food testing laboratories; and (6) improve the capacity of the Secretary to track and trace raw agricultural commodities. Requires the Secretary, acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to enhance foodborne illness surveillance systems. Authorizes the Secretary to order an immediate cessation of distribution, or a recall, of food. Requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assist state, local, and tribal governments in preparing for, assessing, decontaminating, and recovering from an agriculture or food emergency. Provides for: (1) foreign supplier verification activities; (2) a voluntary qualified importer program; and (3) the inspection of foreign facilities registered to import food.
Is there anything in there that falls under the auspices of the federal government according to our constitution? I suppose that legal precedents have been set, probably related to the commerce clause, that allow this sort of regulation. But when I read it, it just makes me mad.

I want to buy my food from producers or vendors of my choice. I don't want more regulation on those businesses from whom I purchase. I don't want more regulation on producers. I want more options not fewer, for consumers and producers. I want myself and my husband, not some Washington bureaucrats to be responsible for the safety of our family's food.

This is nothing new, really. But it makes me mad that these things are being passed regularly and we never hear about them. Have you heard about this one?

I have a few alternative/natural type sources of information. These sources are largely anti-big business of any kind, so I can't whole hearted endorse any one of them. Bit they are a good source for information that would otherwise be under my radar.

I've seen publicity about this bill, for instance, deriding it for being pro big agribusiness. It will put more limits on the small farmers. Also noted is that the big organic farmers are able to bend rules and regulations, and bills such as this help them to do so. That may be true. I don't know.

But if we want to get our country back, it will not be on the battlefield of big versus little. That just leads to more dissension. Dividing the populace falls right into the socialist playbook.

We need to judge the merits of a bill on the basis of whether a given law or regulation is allowed by the fundamental law of our land, our US Constitution.

I always hesitate to speak out on things that have not gotten lots of press. There just is not much information out there on this, without reading the bill itself. I certainly haven't taken the time to do that. If any readers know anything more about this bill and can clarify anything I may be misunderstanding, please elucidate me.

No comments: