H.R. 875 Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 Part 2
The first part of this article was running long and so I’ve continued it in this post. I was only able to cover about half the issues I personally have with the bill as it is currently written.
Having said that I’ll go ahead and continue on from where I left off before. Remember there is a Senate bill supposed to be comparable to this one, S. 425 which I haven’t read yet.
I’m starting at the point where this agency is looking at how and what they will be inspecting. H. R. 875
(2) In defining subcategories of food establishments and their alternative inspection frequencies under paragraphs (1) and (2), the Administrator shall consider–
(A) the nature of the food products being processed, stored, or transported;
(B) the manner in which food products are processed, stored, or transported;
(C) the inherent likelihood that the products will contribute to the risk of food-borne illness;
(D) the best available evidence concerning reported illnesses associated with the foods processed, stored, held, or transported in the proposed subcategory of establishments; and
(E) the overall record of compliance with food safety law among establishments in the proposed subcategory, including compliance with applicable performance standards and the frequency of recalls.
Of all those above, only E may not apply to single families or farms. But how can one say when the language is such that the implication is there that they CAN target single family gardens and farms. After all, when we have a garden we often can or bottle the proceeds in order to get the most out of our sweat, blood and crops. Being organic, these vegetables, or the farm animals raised for food, are much healthier also. Therefore, words such as processed, stored, or held can mean ANY food which a family stores for later use and not necessarily food from a mass producer.
It is the very fact that one can so broadly interpret the meanings that should give pause/concern to this legislation.
SEC. 206. FOOD PRODUCTION FACILITIES.
(4) conduct monitoring and surveillance of animals, plants, products, or the environment, as appropriate; and
(5) collect and maintain information relevant to public health and farm practices.
I can hear everyone now; “They don’t mean private stuff, this concerns mass production!” Are you sure? Can you guarantee it? Would you stake your home on it? I wouldn’t. In my mind there is no room for wonder or “what ifs” when it comes to the federal government! Do you think a single family or farmer would like to stake their peace and quiet on this? I don’t think so.
Words can make all the difference in the world. For example, lets look at the word BAILEE. Spelled this way it means a person to whom goods are committed for custody or repair. Rather appropriate don’t you think? But spelled like this, BAILEY, now we are talking about the wall around a castle. OR we can spell it this way, BAILIE, and we are now talking about a municipal officer in Scotland. So if you think wording isn’t important, ESPECIALLY when we are talking lawyers, then you are really being naive.
(c) Regulations- Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture and representatives of State departments of agriculture, shall promulgate regulations to establish science-based minimum standards for the safe production of food by food production facilities. Such regulations shall–
(1) consider all relevant hazards, including those occurring naturally, and those that may be unintentionally or intentionally introduced;
(2) require each food production facility to have a written food safety plan that describes the likely hazards and preventive controls implemented to address those hazards;
(3) include, with respect to growing, harvesting, sorting, and storage operations, minimum standards related to fertilizer use, nutrients, hygiene, packaging, temperature controls, animal encroachment, and water;
(4) include, with respect to animals raised for food, minimum standards related to the animal’s health, feed, and environment which bear on the safety of food for human consumption;
(5) provide a reasonable period of time for compliance, taking into account the needs of small businesses for additional time to comply;
(6) provide for coordination of education and enforcement activities by State and local officials, as designated by the Governors of the respective States; and
I’m just curious why the Governor would be chosen to be placed in charge of this. Does the Governor KNOW about farming? How is he supposed to get this together? But I’ve jumped ahead here. This is all supposed to be implemented within 1 year of this program being OKed. This seems more like a program which will take more time than that to become uniform across the land AND educate everyone at the same time. Seems very ambitious to me. And is it educate or force???
A plan has to be drawn up AND written out for the *hazards* whether those hazards be natural or unnatural? Is this going to be another *police yourself* situation where something has to happen, something bad, before the monitoring starts? How much of this will actually depend on real and proven science and not on junk science or someone’s pet project? Look at all the *no more pork* in the stimulus packages and tell me this isn’t of concern.
And the part where they want a minimum standard for raising animals meant for food bothers me. Why start at the bottom? Why not make this HUMANE? I just can’t figure out why the bottom line always winds up being the top in the end.
Nor do I believe that it is do-able to have this all accomplished within one year. NOT UNLESS THE SYSTEM IS ALREADY IN PLACE AND THEY ARE JUST WAITING FOR THE LAW TO PASS TO POUNCE! Education, putting the plans in place, looking into hazards, getting everyone on the same page. How is that possible without force?
(f) Enforcement- The Administrator may coordinate with the agency or department designated by the Governor of each State to perform activities to ensure compliance with this section.
And yet another government branch created by the States and federally MANDATED! Ya knew this was coming! Since they can’t legally mandate to those States which have declared Sovereignty, they get the State to create its own agency, (with their help), and work through that agency. After all, it was created by the Gov!
How are they going to get all this information for enforcement out to ALL the agencies that will be held responsible for enforcement? I think someone is dreaming here. At the very least this is a very ambitious project. But perhaps they will only upgrade those policies that are already in place from the now defunct FDA?
SEC. 207. FEDERAL AND STATE COOPERATION.
(8) increasing participation in national networks of public health and food regulatory agencies and laboratories to–
(A) allow public health officials at the Federal, State, and local levels to share and accept laboratory analytic findings; and
(9) establishing a flexible mechanism for rapidly supporting scientific research by academic centers of excellence, which may include staff representing academic clinical researchers, food microbiologists, animal and plant disease specialists, ecologists, and other allied disciplines.
It rather worries me when someone has to be HELPED to accept scientific data. That can mean that the data isn’t supported or that there are differing ideas surrounding the data and we are just to take the word of the *so called* experts that this new agency has hired? There have been multiple problems in the FDA where scientists were at odds with their bosses on various subjects. How can we be sure that this isn’t going to be the case now? Trust me, we can’t!
As for, *research by academic centers of excellence*, are these known and trusted research facilities where scientific research is carried out daily by those who do this for a living? Or are they going to use students here? While the experience would be great for the students, what happens when/if they make a mistake?
(c) Improving State Surveillance Capacity– The Administrator, in collaboration with the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shall improve capacity for surveillance in the States by–
I’m not sure about any of you, but talking about State Surveillance sort of freaks me out. It sounds all *big brother-ish*. I am not a fan of being spied on anywhere, even when they tell me it is for my safety,(which I whole-heartedly doubt!). Another thing is that this is Congress stipulating to the States exactly what they will be doing. What happened to State Sovereignty? Before any of this happens, the States aught to be ASKING permission of We the People! There should be discussions, a vote by the people, not dictating to a State agency OR WE THE PEOPLE!
I don’t actually have a problem with the feds ASKING for co-operation. I think that is a wonderful thing and SHOULD be done. However, it is the feds dictating once again instead of asking permission. I DON’T LIKE THAT!
(4) FOOD SAFETY CAPACITY BUILDING GRANTS- The Administrator shall make grants to State and local agencies to enhance State and local food safety capacity and programs and support achievement of the goals established in paragraph (1). In awarding such grants, the Administrator shall take into account the criteria and priorities established by the Administrator under paragraph (3).
Ahhhh, the bribes! But most of the State’s claim that federal *grants* are usually only enough to START a project leaving the State to finance the rest of the mandated legislation. Certainly if the fed wanted to be fair, if they want this program and this agency, they should fund the project!
Also, this is agenda driven goals that the feds have laid out. The feds will be grabbing more tax dollars for this MANDATED project, even though they don’t need them, read HERE:
SEC. 210. TRACEBACK REQUIREMENTS.
(a) In General- The Administrator, in order to protect the public health, shall establish a national traceability system that enables the Administrator to retrieve the history, use, and location of an article of food through all stages of its production, processing, and distribution.
(b) Applicability- Traceability requirements under this section shall apply to food from food production facilities, food establishments, and foreign food establishments.
Sections a and b are already in place. I’ve seen numerous programs on CNN’s Lou Dobbs where they talked about the feds catching up to the growers. Remember the problems over the salmonella episode where it was Mexico’s produce that caused all the problems but cost farmers in THIS country so much revenue. How about the feds reimburse these growers for their losses?
TITLE III–RESEARCH AND EDUCATION
SEC. 301. PUBLIC HEALTH ASSESSMENT SYSTEM.
(3) provide appropriate support and input on the design and implementation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the States of an active surveillance system that provides information on the incidence and causes of food-borne illness which is timely, detailed, and representative of the population of the United States;
Again, they are INFORMING States of their role in this program. Along with this you can tie in the NAIS program which hurts small farmers/businesses, but rewards those huge industry farms where cattle are packed in like sardines some to the point they can’t even walk when taken to slaughter and have to be carried by forklift. That doesn’t happen on a small farm. They act like this is a co-operative, but it is not. I do not like this legislation at all.
(4) based on data and information obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the States, and other sources, assess the incidence, distribution, public health impact, and causes of human illness in the United States associated with the consumption of food, and conduct research and analysis to devise effective and feasible interventions to reduce food-borne illness;
More GM foods? More NAIS for humans now? Will we be allowed to decide if we want these interventions? Will the science be real or pseudo science? You know, like they did for second hand smoke? Will they give the real definition of the word *cause (as in may contribute),* for the lay people or will the people assume incorrectly that it means *was responsible for?* Will there be transparency? Na, we’re dreaming here!
SEC. 303. RESEARCH.
(10) develop methods to reduce or destroy harmful pathogens before, during, and after processing;
(11) analyze the incidence of antibiotic resistence as it pertains to the food supply and develop new methods to reduce the transfer of antibiotic resistance to humans; and
(12) conduct other research that supports the purposes of this Act.
It amazes me that government still thinks it knows Mother Nature better than Mother Nature knows herself. How often will we try to out-guess her? It can prove disastrous and yet we keep messing with the environment and in human and animal lives. We have only to look at the drug industry, (Big Pharma and Big Biotech) to see just how many die because they have the answer for diseases that don’t really exist. New ones are made up every day in the drug industry and doctors just go along getting their kick-backs from the drug industry. And ALL those commercials bombarding us day and night trying to get us to go to the doctor and GET THESE MEDS! Why isn’t there industry regulation of the drugs? Oh, that’s right, the FDA is in charge of that. And just because they are in bed with the drug companies doesn’t mean we should doubt their findings, now does it?
The Statin scam which is still being perpetrated on Citizens, the Cholesterol scam likewise being pushed are only two right off the top of my head. The list of scams in medicine is endless and you would be shocked to see the amount of drugs listed. Government does NOT have the interests of people or citizens at heart but is a business meant to make money and gain control. If you want to see for yourself the drugs that are scams, simply do a google search for *scam drugs list* and watch how many companies come up.
SEC. 305. CAREER-SPANNING TRAINING FOR FOOD INSPECTORS.
(a) In General- The Administrator shall make a grant to an entity described in subsection (c) to provide training to Federal, State, and local food inspectors.
(b) Use of Funds- The Administrator may make a grant under this section to an applicant only if the applicant agrees to use the grant to provide regular, standardized, graduated, career-spanning training, based on a curriculum developed by the Association of Food and Drug Officials, to Federal, State, and local food inspectors.
(c) Eligible Entity- An entity described in this subsection is an entity that–
And I’ll just bet that whatever applicant receives this *grant* has a set curriculum to follow, Fed approved, to do and be EXACTLY what the feds want! Don’t think, we’ll do that for you! Carry on!
SEC. 405. CIVIL AND CRIMINAL PENALTIES.
This section is huge and nowhere in there does the person being accused have recourse to damages if the charges prove to be false or unsubstantiated and this person’s business is hurt by the action taken against them. Think of all the problems this could cause. What happens when a farmer has his crop confiscated because someone accuses him of something that later on is proven false? He has no ability for redress. None.
And you just gotta love this one!
(2) LIMITATION ON REVIEW- In a civil action under paragraph (1), the validity and appropriateness of the order of the Administrator assessing the civil penalty shall not be subject to judicial review.
Here we go again. This action not being subject for review by anyone is ripe for abuse. There should never be any legislation where there is no judicial or citizen reviews done. Seems rather un-Constitutional doesn’t it? Yet we are supposed to think this is GOOD legislation? I don’t think so!
Anytime you are not allowed to review a program there is a problem. We the People have a government that is trying to destroy our rights. We CANNOT allow legislation like this to become law.
SEC. 406. PRESUMPTION.
In any action to enforce the requirements of the food safety law, the connection with interstate commerce required for jurisdiction shall be presumed to exist.
One of the rules to live by is that you NEVER presume anything. So why is it that lawyers think it right and fitting to presume that interstate commerce applies before finding out the facts? However, it seems to fit right in with that *you can’t review me* part just above.
Now according to this site here:
Interstate commerce refers to the purchase, sale or exchange of commodities, transportation of people, money or goods, and navigation of waters between different States. Interstate commerce is regulated by the federal government as authorized under Article I of the U.S. Constitution. The federal government can also regulate commerce within a State when it may impact interstate movement of goods and services and may strike down State actions which are barriers to such movement.
Historically, interstate commerce was regulated by the Interstate Commerce Commission (I.C.C.) under authority granted by the Interstate Commerce Act, first enacted by Congress in 1887. However, most ICC control over interstate trucking was abandoned in 1994, and the agency was terminated at the end of 1995. Many of its remaining functions were transferred to the new National Surface Transportation Board.
This is just really bad legislation and seems to me to be placing both UNDUE burdens on the Citizens of this country as well as making a plan it cannot adhere to in the time specified. It seems to try to take far too much power into itself and has not proven itself yet. There are huge amounts of room for abuse within this bill, language which makes too broad a net for the capture of innocent Citizens.
While lawyers may LOVE this bill, it is a nasty piece of legislation and needs to be squashed!
What to do?
Contact the groups involved on this issue:
Committee on Energy and Commerce
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Please click here to use our form to contact the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
None of the members listed on this group have links attached. Here is the page information if you wish to check it out:
House Committee on Agriculture
1301 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
OR Contact these individuals personally:
- Tim Holden, PA, Vice Chairman
- Mike McIntyre, NC
- Leonard L. Boswell, IA
- Joe Baca, CA
- Dennis A. Cardoza, CA
- David Scott, GA
- Jim Marshall, GA
- Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, SD
- Henry Cuellar, TX
- Jim Costa, CA
- Brad Ellsworth, IN
- Timothy J. Walz, MN
- Steve Kagen, WI
- Kurt Schrader, OR
- Deborah L. Halvorson, IL
- Kathleen A. Dahlkemper, PA
- Eric J.J. Massa, NY
- Bobby Bright, AL
- Betsy Markey, CO
- Frank Kratovil, MD
- Mark H. Schauer, MI
- Larry Kissell, NC
- John Boccieri, OH
- Earl Pomeroy, ND
- Travis W. Childers, MS
- Walt Minnick, ID
- Bob Goodlatte, VA
- Jerry Moran, KS
- Timothy V. Johnson, IL
- Sam Graves, MO
- Mike Rogers, AL
- Steve King, IA
- Randy Neugebauer, TX
- K. Michael Conaway, TX
- Jeff Fortenberry, NE
- Jean Schmidt, OH
- Adrian Smith, NE
- Robert E. Latta, OH
- David P. Roe, TN
- Blaine Luetkemeyer, MO
- Glenn W. Thompson, PA
- Bill Cassidy, LA
- Cynthia Lummis, WY*