S.425 Food Safety and Tracking Improvement Act

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." Lord Acton 1887

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." Lord Acton 1887

Having done a post on H.R. 875 and knowing that the Senate was supposed to have a comparable bill,  I thought I should look into that as well.

It isn’t that I don’t trust our Congress, well maybe I don’t, but actually knowing what a thing is or is supposed to do seems more important than speculating on its meaning.

Straight off one thing struck me as I started reading this bill, the fact that all the power rests in the hands of 1 person and 1 person alone.  After having put up with a corrupt Federal Food and Drug Administration, this seems to me like a very bad idea all together.  Hasn’t the government learned anything?  Well, of course not, it’s the government!

There is a fundamental difference between H.R. 875 and S.425H.R. 875 creates a new agency all together and S.425 amends the current agency, the FDA.

S. 425 can be read here:  You are not obligated to take my word for ANYTHING.  I would encourage all of those interested to actually read this bill and see what you think.  My opinions are my own.

Let it be understood that this bill will affect the following programs as stated in the very beginning:

A BILL

To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to provide for the establishment of a traceability system for food, to amend the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspections Act, the Egg Products Inspection Act, and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to provide for improved public health and food safety through enhanced enforcement, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

All of these separated programs have the same clauses enacted within this bill. You must understand ALL that is affected here or you won’t be able to defend yourself or your business adequately.  Each section of this bill says the same thing in the same way.  It is a bill guaranteed to keep lawyers in business!

The first problem I noted was this part:

(B) CONSIDERATIONS- In developing the report under subparagraph (A), the Committee shall consider the following approaches to providing for the traceability of food:

    `(i) A national database or registry operated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Considering what we know of the FDA, this sends out major red flags to me personally. This group is responsible for all those unsafe drugs on the market today and we are supposed to trust them to create a SECURE National Database?  Is that even possible with today’s hackers?  What do they mean by SECURE?  This database will contain all the personal information required in order to carry out inspections, track down food problems, (which I believe is a good idea), and take action against those responsible.  But unless this system is NOT connected to a network, the government CANNOT guarantee its privacy.

The next section contains 4 words that scares me personally, but you may disagree:

(ii) Electronic records identifying each prior sale, purchase, or trade of the food and its ingredients, and establishing that the food and its ingredients were grown, prepared, handled, manufactured, processed, distributed, shipped, warehoused, imported, and conveyed under conditions that ensure the safety of the food. The records should include an electronic statement with the date of, and the names and addresses of all parties to, each prior sale, purchase, or trade, and any other information as appropriate.

Why would the word *trade* be placed here if this only applies to business. Business doesn’t trade food, they buy or grow it or cause it to be grown.  The implication here is that since businesses DON’T trade food, this is a reference to home grown food.

SEC. 411. NOTIFICATION, NONDISTRIBUTION, AND RECALL OF ADULTERATED OR MISBRANDED ARTICLES.

    `(a) Notification to Secretary of Violation-
  • `(1) IN GENERAL- A person (other than a household consumer) that has reason to believe that any carcass, part of a carcass, meat, or meat food product of an amenable species (referred to in this section as an `article’) transported, stored, distributed, or otherwise handled by the person is adulterated or misbranded shall, as soon as practicable, notify the Secretary of the identity and location of the article.

Why is it specifically mentioned that household consumers, those very people directly affected by bad food, are not be be allowed to blow the whistle on this? Does that seem like good common sense to you? Isn’t every person on the face of this earth a household consumer whether lawyer, doctor or average Jane?  Curiouser and curiouser…

SEC. 413. CIVIL PENALTIES

`(c) Collection Actions for Failure To Pay Assessment-

`(3) SCOPE OF REVIEW- In a civil action under paragraph (2), the validity and appropriateness of the order of the Secretary assessing the civil penalty shall not be subject to review.

Why is this such a favorite statement in these new bills lately?  The abuse factor becomes scary when there is no ability for review or redress from a single person in charge of an agency.  It seems to me this is an attempt by the government to circumvent the Constitution and OUR right of due process.  It seems to make sure there is no ability by a business or average Joe to have access to, or be reviewed by, an impartial third party.  All the power seems to rest in the hands of 1 man.  And it is stated over and over again that he sets both policy and review.

And under this same section comes a part that really worries me.

    `(x) Person- The term `person’ means any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or other business unit.‘.
    • (2) The Federal Meat Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) is amended–
      • (A) by striking `person, firm, or corporation’ each place it appears and inserting `person‘;
      • (B) by striking `persons, firms, and corporations’ each place it appears and inserting `persons‘; and
      • (C) by striking `persons, firms, or corporations’ each place it appears and inserting `persons’.

The term person can only mean a human being!  At no time can a business or corporation be considered to be human.  A business or corporation doesn’t live, breathe or eat.  How can they be considered to be a person?  And in assigning them human being status we give them rights they were never supposed to have!!!

AND with the inclusion of the term *individual* we are opening up a can of worms that can never be closed.  Nor do  I trust the feds or Congress enough to be reassured if they tell me I’m mistaken in my concerns.  We have seen point blank where illegal aliens are being defended even after pleading guilty for possession of   stolen identity simply because the word, *KNOWINGLY* was included in the charges against them.  Defining a person or an individual as anything other than a human being is not only wrong, it becomes un-Constitutional!

SEC. 202. FOOD SAFETY ENFORCEMENT FOR POULTRY AND POULTRY FOOD PRODUCTS.

(a) In General- The Poultry Products Inspection Act (21 U.S.C. 451 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

(1) IN GENERAL- A person (other than a household consumer) that has reason to believe that any poultry or poultry product (referred to in this section as an `article’) transported, stored, distributed, or otherwise handled by the person is adulterated or misbranded shall, as soon as practicable, notify the Secretary of the identity and location of the article.

I’m going to raise this issue again, WHY isn’t a household consumer tip allowed?  Isn’t every CITIZEN OF THESE united STATES both a consumer AND a household member?  This is VERY BAD language and I’m sure it is meant to be so.  It means no Citizen may report a problem, PERIOD.  Don’t talk to us, we’ll INFORM you!

All the power resides in the *Secretary* however, nowhere in the bill is the Secretary defined.  I do not know where the Secretary comes from or how s/he is chosen.

Again, and again, the implication here is that the Secretary is all but God. S/he decides what protocols to enact, how they will affect others, and determines the outcome of the situation all without judicial review UNLESS you file exactly as stipulated in this legislation.  A situation which will surely lead to abuse! Each individual section contains this information:

(a) In General-

    • `(1) ASSESSMENT- The Secretary may assess against a person that violates section 411 (including a regulation promulgated or order issued under that section) a civil penalty for each violation of not more than $100,000.
    • `(2) SEPARATE OFFENSES- Each violation and each day during which the violation continues shall be considered to be a separate offense.
    • `(3) NOTICE AND OPPORTUNITY FOR HEARING- The Secretary shall not assess a civil penalty under this section against a person unless the person is given notice and opportunity for a hearing on the record before the Secretary in accordance with sections 554 and 556 of title 5, United States Code.

Unfortunately after doing numerous google searches I am unable to find Sections 554 and 556 of title 5 of the United States Code. Where it exists is a mystery to me.  If someone else knows what this code is or where to find it I would be very grateful.  I can find numerous references to it, but not the code itself.

Each section also contains this clause:

(e) Penalties in Lieu of Other Actions- Nothing in this Act requires the Secretary to report for prosecution, or for the commencement of an action, any violation of section 411 in any case in which the Secretary believes that the public interest will be adequately served by the assessment of a civil penalty under this section.

Each section also contains this clause:

(x) Person- The term `person’ means any individual, partnership, corporation, association, or other business unit.’.

The term *Person* as referred to above means YOU and I!  There is no mistaking what they are talking about if you ask me, but these are only my opinions.  It is also very clear what they mean by *store* in the legalese of this language.  I can only assume that by the language in this bill we are moving steadily towards a police state!

SEC. 204. NOTIFICATION, NONDISTRIBUTION, AND RECALL OF ADULTERATED OR MISBRANDED ARTICLES OF FOOD.

    (a) Prohibited Acts- Section 301 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 331) is amended by adding at the end the following:

Interestingly enough I was unable to link to the above referenced article. Nor is this the first time it has happened to me when trying to link to a united States Code.  However, you may find the document here:

http://www.fda.gov/opacom/laws/fdcact/fdcact3.htm

It makes no sense to me why this would be so, but after trying to link this about 4 times I decided to just put in the addy instead.  Just copy and paste into the url line of your browser and it will take you right there.

In this section there was also a change in who could report a problem.  Here is the changed version as well as the version listed several times above.  I’ll start with the oft-repeated version:

(1) IN GENERAL- A person (other than a household consumer) that has reason to believe that any egg or egg product (referred to in this section as an `article’) transported, stored, distributed, or otherwise handled by the person is adulterated or misbranded shall, as soon as practicable, notify the Secretary of the identity and location of the article.

SEC. 311. NOTIFICATION, NONDISTRIBUTION, AND RECALL OF ADULTERATED OR MISBRANDED ARTICLES OF FOOD.

`(a) Notification to Secretary of Violation-
`(1) IN GENERAL- A person (other than a household consumer or other individual who is the intended consumer of an article of food) that has reason to believe that an article of food when introduced into or while in interstate commerce, or while held for sale (regardless of whether the first sale) after shipment in interstate commerce, is adulterated or misbranded in a manner that, if consumed, may result in illness or injury shall, as soon as practicable, notify the Secretary of the identity and location of the article.

I found this particularly interesting.  Why would they need to add that last part when none of the other sections had it?  And I still haven’t come across where all this money is to go to.  It is obvious it will not go to the victims of poisoning or their families should a death follow.  So WHERE does it go and who gets it???

The last change in this bill came at the very end here:

`SEC. 312. CIVIL PENALTIES RELATING TO FOODS.

    `(a) In General-
    • `(1) ASSESSMENT- The Secretary may assess against a person that commits an act prohibited by section 301(pp) a civil penalty for each such act of not more than–
      • `(A) $100,000, in the case of an individual; and
      • `(B) $500,000, in the case of any other person.

So, nowhere in this document does it say where the money will go and how it will be spent. As a consumer, person, and individual, I am concerned when bills like this come up that are so very specific in some ways and so vague or outright missing information in other ways.

I can only suggest that we ask what this means.  If enough people are concerned, perhaps we can do something about these bad bills.  While the idea is a good one for having a national food tracking system, this bill seems overly concerned with conviction and prosecution rather than actually implementing a secure system of tracking.

Currently the bill sits in the following committee for debate:

Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

I went to their site to get the information for contacting them.  It gave the following:

For prompt responses to your questions on policies covered by the Agriculture Committee, please contact Chairman Harkin or Ranking Member Chambliss through their personal websites.

Since these are the only two available for comment you can click on their names to go to their websites.  And there is always the Congressional Switchboard!

1-800-839-5276

After reading these two bills I’ve decided it is time to watch very critically all bills coming into the House of Representatives or the Senate.  If we are watching them and they know it, they may just get the idea they need to behave themselves.  And what a shock for them that will be huh?

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~ by justmytruth on March 14, 2009.

4 Responses to “S.425 Food Safety and Tracking Improvement Act”

  1. Thanks for raising awareness. They try some crazy things in Congress, don’t they?

  2. Lately it seems that is all they do. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. This will do absolutely nothing to make our food safer. It isn’t designed to, anyway. It is an insidious way to try to shut down food producers and make it so cost prohibitive that most are run out of business. This is from the health foods movement and ideological beliefs that we should all be eating raw, organic foods and nothing cooked or purchased. this is from the anti-globalization crowd that wants us to fear foods from outside our local neighborhood.

    Think of the bureaucratic nightmare for a small food company to trace every single ingredient to its origin (chocolate from Switzerland, sugar from the Virgin Islands, cinnamon from India, lamb from New Zealand, cheese from France…), everyone that’s touched it and everywhere it’s been, everything a cow or chicken was fed, etc. in order to cook anything. Jam, bread, lasagna, chicken casserole, ice cream, salsa, etc. Everyone will also need lawyers to defend themselves against lawsuits for something they missed reporting.

    If this Act passes, you can look forward to $9 bread. If there is bread. More likely, we’ll all have to be barefoot and at home baking it ourselves.

  4. This has nothing to do with the right to eat or grow organic foods. Nor is it from the health-food industry. I have no idea by what logic you make these accusations, but they sound pretty far-fetched to me.

    What this IS about is control of each and everyone of us, our food, our livestock, our ability to do for ourselves and if anything is all about GLOBALIZATION!

    The bureaucratic nightmare is from Congress, the language which turns a corporation or business into a human being gives rights to those companies/businesses they should NEVER have.

    I did mention this was a law to keep lawyers in business. But I do agree with your last statement.

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