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Alarming Provisions

OPPOSE HR 2749 Talking Points – click on the headers for more detail

Send a personal message to your legislators through our petition system by clicking on “Oppose HR 2749“.

Update 6/18/09:  On June 17, the Waxman amendment to HR 2749 was voted out of the House Commerce and Energy Committee and is headed to the House floor for consideration.  It may be amended again before the House votes on HR 2749.  See Talking Points for changes to the “Alarming Provisions”. [#4 civil penalties reduced]

ALARMING PROVISIONS:
1. GEOGRAPHIC QUARANTINE
HR 2749
would give FDA the power to order a quarantine of a geographic area, including "prohibiting or restricting the movement of food or of any vehicle being used or that has been used to transport or hold such food within the geographic area."  Under this provision, farmers markets and local food sources could be shut down, even if they are not the source of the contamination.  The agency can halt all movement of all food in a geographic area.
2. WARRANTLESS SEARCHES*
HR 2749
would empower FDA to make warrantless searches of the business records of small farmers and local food producers, without any evidence whatsoever that there has been a violation.  Even farmers selling direct to consumers would have to provide the federal government with records on where they buy supplies, how they raise their crops, and a list of customers.
3. TRACING SYSTEM
HR 2749
charges the Secretary of Health and Human Services with establishing a tracing system for food.  Each "person who produces, manufactures, processes, packs, transports, or holds such food" would have to "maintain the full pedigree of the origin and previous distribution history of the food," and "establish and maintain a system for tracing the food that is interoperable with the systems established and maintained by other such persons."  The bill does not explain how far the traceback will extend or how it will be done for multi-ingredient foods.  With all these ambiguities, it's far from clear how much it will cost either the farmers or the taxpayers.
4.
SEVERE PENALTIES
HR 2749
creates severe criminal and civil penalties, including prison terms of up to 10 years and/or fines of up to a total of $100,000 for individuals.
5. REGISTRATION FEE
HR 2749
would impose an annual registration fee of $500 on any "facility" that holds, processes, or manufactures food.  Although "farms" are exempt, the agency has defined "farm" narrowly.  And people making foods such as lacto-fermented vegetables, cheeses, or breads would be required to register and pay the fee, which could drive beginning and small producers out of business during difficult economic times.
6. CROP REGULATION
HR 2749
would empower FDA to regulate how crops are raised and harvested.  It puts the federal government right on the farm, dictating to our farmers.
 

The "Oppose HR 2749" petition is posted at https://ftcldf.org/petitions/pnum993.php

Information provided courtesy Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (www.farmtoconsumer.org)

* 7/12/09 edit – removed random: empower FDA to make random warrantless searches of the business records

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