Posts Tagged ‘FSMA’

Activist Post: Food Safety Modernization Act: The End of Fresh, Living Food?

The most alarming part of this proposed “safety” legislation? The new rules make it “nearly impossible to use natural fertilizers like manure and compost. Farmers will be pushed to use chemicals instead of natural fertilizers.” If you eat, and I suspect most of you do … and if you prefer to eat real food instead of FrankenPhoods and chemicals like Agent Orange and toxic “fertilizers,” then I suggest you make those preferences known while you still can. This is not just la la la, it’ll never happen. This is Codex Alimentarius in action. You have no idea how much easier this will be to prevent than to undo!

May any and all laws the food fascists attempt to enact be cursed with glitches, snafu’s and all manner of frustration and delay until food freedom reigns again, along with healthy soil, healthy bees and healthy people. Yes, I pray that way, and yes, I pray for healthy, organic, living ecosystems and continual access to local, healthy food. Every single day. Yes, I spend most of my free time helping to increase our healthy, local food shed. Positive intentions can carry you far…

But sometimes, ya just gotta yell a big, old hearty “No!!!!! Not on my watch!” to a wolf who doesn’t even bother to put on sheep’s clothing. (No offense to wolves intended.) To the chemical companies, globalists and food fascists: get out of our gardens, get out of our local farms, and get OUT of our government. Go bathe in Agent Orange and recycled hazardous waste “fertilizers” if you like them so much.

Food Safety Modernization Act: The End of Fresh, Living Food?
Less than a week left to submit comments on FDA’s food “safety” rules

Brad Jordan
Activist Post

The deadline for submitting comments on two key rules the FDA has proposed as a part of the Food Safety Modernization Act has been extended to Friday, Nov. 22.

Hailed as the most sweeping overhaul of farm and food policy since the Great Depression, many fear the law will actually make our food supply less safe – not to mention sterile – by regulating small, organic farmers out of business and leaving it in the hands of a few mega farmers and processors.

Founder of Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance Judith McGeary shared her concerns about the federal Food and Drug Administration’s first draft of the “Produce Safety” and “Preventative Controls for Human Food” rules in a Food Riot Radio interview earlier this year. Despite thousands of comments from concerned stakeholders over the last ten months, the rules haven’t got any better.

While submitting our comments probably won’t stop the train wreck, we can’t let food safety “modernization” go into effect without putting up a fight. If you thought the government taking control of our “health”care was bad, imagine what it’ll be like when they take over our farms. People should be fighting this harder than they fought Obamacare.

Extinction of small, local farms

The cost of compliance with the new food safety law is high, so high even the FDA admits it expects some small farmers to go out of business. While the very smallest farms – those generating less than $500,000 in annual revenues – will be exempt from some of the most burdensome regulatory requirements, they are not fully exempt from the new food safety rules.

The small farm “exemptions” are not helpful for a few reasons.

First, they only apply to very, very small farms. While $500,000 may sound like a lot of money, keep in mind we’re talking about revenues or sales – not the farmer’s profit or income. The average farmer’s net income is about 10 percent of his sales. That means a farmer with a household income of as little as $50,000 would most likely have to comply with the full-load of regulations, which were supposedly designed for mega farms and food processors.

Second, even these very, very small farms are not fully exempt. The FDA admits that farmers with revenues under $500,000 will spend 4-6 percent of their revenue complying with a smaller set of regulations. Since their average total net income is only about 10 percent of their revenues, small farmers will likely spend over half of their profits on regulatory compliance costs.

Third, the exemption granted to very, very small farms can be revoked at any time if the FDA suspects there is a food safety problem on the farm, and the agency has to show no evidence or proof for its suspicion.

On top of the cost in dollars, the law will cost farmers time. Farmers, especially small farmers who can’t afford legal counsel, don’t have time to mull through and comply with 1200 pages of new rules and regulations, many of which are vague and poorly written. Tracking the origin and destination of every crop sold, for example, isn’t going to benefit the farmer or the consumer of local foods.

Sterile soil, sterile food

According to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the rules make it “nearly impossible to use natural fertilizers like manure and compost. Farmers will be pushed to use chemicals instead of natural fertilizers.”

“The FDA seems to be scared of anything that was ever part of an animal. If you don’t follow their instructions to the letter, which includes extensive documentation of how the compost was made, you have to treat compost — including worm castings — as if it were raw animal manure and wait 9 months in between putting the compost down and harvesting the crop. In practice, this is a death knell for the use of many types of compost, which are vital to growing food sustainably,” McGeary said.

What does all this mean for consumers? Dead, lifeless food made of synthetic nutrients.

So, if you’re concerned about local, sustainable food, support The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, and submit comments through its website.

Or, if you want to go right into the belly of the beast, go to Regulations.gov and leave a comment there. But beware – it looks like the website may be run by the same people who run Healthcare.gov, as both are having technical difficulties right now. Regulations.gov has crashed three times in the past week, which may be a good thing, because, let’s be honest, the longer the federal government is delayed, the better.

Previous post: Your Seafood is Sick

This article appeared at Food Riot Radio. Please “like” Food Riot Radio on Facebook.

No Good Farms=No Good Food: Food Safety and the FDA

This important and time-sensitive post comes from the Cornucopia Institute via RMN. Yes, the tactic they request involves a little more effort than clicking on a petition, but I ask you to consider what will it take to motivate you to action? Is the imminent prospect of having the FDA and the psychopathic corporations underwriting our government completely destroy all small- and medium-sized organic farms enough to motivate you? If not, why not? (These are not rhetorical questions. I really, really want to know!)

This is your life. As Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men [and women and children] do nothing.” This affects us all, and it’s moving fast. Do you care enough to do something about it on multiple levels? In other words, do you care enough to send a physical letter, raise your voice, and encourage others to do the same? Magick, intention and meditation are all very powerful tools. I use them myself to good effect. But we’re talking about your physical access to physical, real food. Isn’t that worth this tiny physical step, or does the sand around your head feel so comfortable that you just can’t be bothered to move at all?

Please do some soul searching. Why are you here? What do you value in life? Do you ever eat? Do you value even just a tiny bit the freedom to decide what you do or do not permit inside your body? You live on Planet Earth. Is nothing sacred? Please, wake up.

On the surface this legislation seems like it has a lot to do with chickens, but even if you’re vegan, I still encourage you to take action. Non-action on your part means your unilateral endorsement for only miserable factory farms. It also opens the door for your organic veggie farmers to be regulated and red-taped out of existence, thereby default endorsing factory farms and pesticide-laden, herbicide coated, GMO animal-veggie hybrids. As a vegan, do you really vote for that? As a human, don’t you want the ability to choose something besides that?

The post I saw on RMN begins below:

http://www.cornucopia.org/food-safety/

In response to deadly outbreaks involving spinach, peanut products and eggs, Congress acted decisively three years ago to pass the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Giant factory farms and uninspected imports are, literally, poisoning US citizens. Better oversight is needed but it looks like regulators and corporate agribusiness are using the FSMA to simultaneously competitively crush the organic and local farming movements.

Unfortunately, the FDA’s draft regulations designed to implement the new law appear to ignore the will of Congress. Instead, the regulations would ensnare the country’s safest family farmers in burdensome regulations in a misdirected attempt to rein in abuses that are mostly emanating from industrial-scale factory farms and giant agribusiness food processing facilities.

SHORTAGES of FARM-DIRECT PRODUCE?
Small farms forced out of business?

We thought we had won a victory with the Tester Amendment adopted by Congress exempting farmers doing less than $500,000 in business from these new rules, but the FDA seems more interested in a “one-size-fits-all” food safety law.

In reality, these small farms are not really exempt. The FDA is proposing that the agency can, without any due process, almost immediately force small farms to comply with the same expensive testing and record-keeping requirements for factory farms. The added expense and record-keeping time will potentially force many small farms — those selling to local farmers markets, co-ops and restaurants — out of business instantly.

Just as important, for farms over $500,000 in volume (and there are plenty of excellent medium-sized organic farms in the $1-$3 million range or larger), some of the provisions will not only be economically damaging (some farmers might not survive this) but actually prohibit some basic practices in the Organic Food Production Act. Yet if all farms, conventional as well as organic, had to follow the organic regulations for manures/composts, we’d have safer produce.

Please download and sign the proxy and mail it back to protect our nation’s safest farmers. Cornucopia will hand-deliver the thousands of proxies collected to the FDA.

These new rules are just as much [from Laura, read: much more] about protecting industrial agriculture, and their giant factory farms, as they are about protecting human health. Consider:

The FDA has wildly inflated the number of foodborne illnesses that originate from farm production (seed to harvest) rather than contamination that takes place later, in processing/distribution — in justifying supposed economic benefits from the new rules.

The FDA fails to recognize that some processed crops, grown in certain regions, are the genesis of 90% of dangerous outbreaks! Thousands of individual illnesses come from food processing practices — not farming practices — for fresh-cut/bagged salads, greens, and sprouts. And there are no outbreaks linked to many kinds of U.S.-grown fruits and vegetables. Yet these very onerous rules will apply to all farmers. We need to target our tax money where it will do the most good: addressing high-risk areas and practices.

Almost all pathogenic pollution that contaminates ground and surface water, fertilizers and even the air comes from giant concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs (factory farms), not from fruit and vegetable growers. In fact, the riskiest pathogens are found on CAFOs. But the FDA proposes nothing to address sick livestock in animal factories and their pathogen-filled manure that’s contaminating surrounding rural communities, farms and our food supply.

The giant spinach E. coli contamination a few years ago was from an organism commonly found in feedlot cattle. And, according to FDA news releases, the recent Cyclospora outbreak, sickening customers eating bagged salad at Red Lobster and Olive Garden in multiple states, was initially traced back to the giant Taylor Farms’ Mexican operation — not U.S. family farms.

To guarantee the supply of local, fresh, safe and nutritionally superior food, we must focus food safety rules on the truly risky operations and practices – this is not what the FDA’s proposed rules do.

NO MORE ORGANIC EGGS?

Just like imported/factory farm produce might be dangerous and require regulatory oversight, the 2010 salmonella outbreak in eggs, centered in Iowa, shone a spotlight on industrial-scale egg houses confining tens of thousands of hens in filthy and dangerous conditions.

The salmonella outbreak led to this new egg guidance. Even though there is scientific evidence tying higher rates of pathogenic contamination to older, massive factory farms with cages and forced molting (practices banned in organics), the FDA is zeroing in on flocks with outdoor access (certified organic).

Their new guidance, on the one hand, will make it difficult, expensive and maybe even impossible to have medium-sized flocks of birds outside. At the same time, the FDA has colluded with the USDA’s National Organic Program to say that tiny “porches,” which hold only a minute fraction of the flock, will now legally constitute “outdoor access.”

This will not stand. We need to simultaneously protest overreaching government regulations and defend produce and egg farmers.

Cornucopia might very well be headed to court over the governmental abuses in violating the spirit and letter of the organic law in regards to confining organic livestock (poultry).

So we are asking for your help. And we are on a tight timeline. We need you to make your voice heard over the next couple of weeks by downloading, printing and signing the proxy letter. We will hand-deliver it directly to the FDA. We know this involves more hassle than signing an online petition, but a printed letter, together with thousands of others proxies literally carries more weight.

We have heard time and again that regulators and lawmakers, who have no problem blowing off online petitions, sit up and take notice when they receive hard-copy communications – especially when they’re hand-signed and hand-delivered!

If you have the time, please write “over” and add additional comments on the back of the proxy letter. If you are farming, briefly describe your operation and why this could be a threat to your livelihood. If you purchase food from a CSA, co-op, farmers market or local organic farm, please let the policymakers in Washington know why you have confidence in these high-quality farmers rather than in corporate agribusiness.

Additional talking points and background are available at: http://www.cornucopia.org/foodsafety

Join Cornucopia members, farmers and consumers in stepping up to help counter the power of agribusiness lobbyists in Washington.

I know you enjoy the bounty of nutritious, healthful food produced by our nation’s best farmers. Please help us defend and protect this alternative in the marketplace. It is worth fighting for.

Mark A. Kastel
Codirector and Senior Farm Policy Analyst

[Here’s the proxy letter. Again, I ask you: if the threat of imminently destroying all small- and medium-sized organic farms is not enough to get you to take action, then what is? Seriously. Please do some soul searching. Why are you here? What do you value in life? Do you ever eat? Do you value even just a tiny bit the freedom to decide what you do or do not permit inside your body? You live on Planet Earth. Is nothing sacred?]