Monday, March 23, 2009

More about the war for food freedom - HR 875, NAIS, Raw Milk

Here are some excerpts from a NewsWithViews article by Sarah Foster about the proposed bill HR 875.

By Sarah FosterPosted 1:00 AM EasternMarch 23, 2009©

~The Internet’s buzzing about a bill in Congress its sponsor and supporters say is vital for protecting consumers from food-borne illnesses, but critics claim would place all U.S. food production “from farm to fork” under control of federal bureaucrats, effectively destroying family farms and farmers markets in the process and hijacking the burgeoning organic food movement. ~

A “Major Threat” to Local Food
~But in an extensive analysis the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund – a DC-based advocacy group that champions locally grown and organic food production – foresees HR 875 fueling “a tremendous expansion of federal power, particularly the power to regulate intrastate commerce” and warns:
“While the proposed legislation tries to address the many problems of the industrial food system, the impact on small farms if the bill becomes law would be substantial and not for the better HR 875 is a major threat to sustainable farming and the local food movement.” [Emphasis added]

If enacted, there would be a reshuffling within the Department of Health and Human Services. The Food and Drug Administration, a division of HHS, would be split into two agencies – one to deal with food, the other with drugs and medical devices. This second agency would be titled the Federal Drug and Device Administration and keep the acronym FDA.

Food-safety functions would be transferred to a new Food Safety Administration, headed by a food tsar (Administrator of Food Safety) appointed by the President for a five-year term, with Senate approval. The Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) and the Center for Veterinary Medicine – both presently part of the FDA -- would move into the new Food Safety Administration, along with the National Marine Fisheries Service from the Department of Commerce.

That’s for starters. ~

~Here’s a taste of what farmers and other food producers can expect from H.R. 875 if it becomes law:
• Each food production facility – no matter how small – would have to have a written food-safety plan describing “the likely hazards and preventive controls implemented to address those hazards.”
• Farmers selling directors to consumers would have to make their customer list available to federal inspectors.
Federal inspectors would be authorized to:
• inspect food production facilities to make sure the producer is “operating in compliance with the requirements of the food safety law;”
• conduct “monitoring and surveillance of animals, plants, products, or the environment, as appropriate;”
• access and copy all records to determine if food is “contaminated, adulterated, or otherwise not in compliance with the food safety law or to track the food in commerce.” ~

“Traceability” and the National Animal ID System
~Under Section 210 – “Traceback Requirements” – the Food Safety Administration is charged with setting up a national traceability system requiring farmers to keep extensive records that would enable inspectors to track “the history, use, and location of an item of food.”
This system is to be “Consistent with existing statutes and regulations that require record-keeping or labeling for identifying the origin or history of food or food animals,” including “The National Animal Identification system (NAIS) as authorized by the Animal Health Protection Act of 2002 (AHPA).”
The problem is that NAIS was not authorized by the AHPA; it’s never been authorized by congressional legislation.
Jim Babka, editor of, a political action website, regards this as a “bureaucratic initiative,” a “de facto authorization” of NAIS.

“This false assumption gives NAIS the aura of congressional approval,” he writes. “Instead, this is another step on the road to converting NAIS from a voluntary program to a mandatory one. This is exactly what we predicted three years ago when we launched our anti-NAIS campaign.” ~

Could “Raw” Milk Take a Hit?
~Many critics are wondering whether they'll be able to buy "raw" milk if HR 875 becomes law. According to the FTCLDF it’ll depend on the regulations, but the future doesn’t look good. Right now it’s illegal to sell unpasteurized milk across state lines, but some states allow its sale within their boundaries, albeit grudgingly and with heavy restrictions. HR 875 puts even this limited market in jeopardy.

FTCLDF explains:
“FDA has long wanted a complete ban on the sale of raw milk. The agency’s mantra is that raw milk should not be consumed by anyone at any time for any reason. The agency does not consider this subject to be debatable…Under HR 875, FSA is given statutory authority to unilaterally impose a ban.” [Emphasis added]

“Under HR 875, FSA has the power to adopt “preventative process controls to reduce adulteration of food” [Section 203], and to issue regulations that “limit the presence and growth of contaminants in food prepared in a food establishment using the best reasonably available techniques and technologies” [Section 203(b)(1)(D)]. FDA has long made it clear that in its opinion the best available technology to limit contamination in milk is pasteurization.”
Even if the FSA doesn’t issue an outright ban, raw milk producers could be harassed out of business instead. HR 875 designates dairies and farms processing milk as Category 2 Food Establishments – and these are to be “randomly inspected at least weekly.” ~

Click the below link for the full article;


Blogger Haymaker said...

Don't forget all those backyard sugarbush maple-chasers.

In the wise immortal words of Princess Leia: The more they tighten their grip, the more people slip through their fingers.

Sure, stir up us pro-lifers with the involuntary medical testing on pre-born children;
poke gun owners in the eye by selling spent military brass for scrap and hint hint hint at gun bans;
and kick sand in the face of the taxpayers with bailouts and malfeasance;

... but take away granny's heirloom tomatoes, innovative small farmers' community supported agriculture programs, and the yuppy chow at the Farmer's Markets, and Uncle Sam ol' buddy, you've added several new regiments to the political coalition for liberty.

These spasms of their frail, corrupt economic [& social, & food, & political] systems have revealed to more and more people that 1) they aren't nearly as competent as they'd like us to believe, and 2) there actually are alternatives to continuous, perpetual interference in everyday activities.

8:56 PM  
Blogger RL said...

Well said Haymaker! Thanks for the comment.

5:12 PM  

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