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News for November 24, 2010

Food-safety bill a bad idea

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., reportedly is pursuing a vote on a massive expansion of food regulation. Proponents contend the very security of America's food supply is at stake. Rhetoric aside, the nation's food supply has never been safer, thanks largely to technological advances and market forces. Consequently, granting vast new powers to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would raise the cost of food without increasing consumer protection.

Spanning about 150 pages, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, sponsored by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, would authorize the FDA to dictate how farmers grow fruits and vegetables. It even would include rules governing soil, water, hygiene, packing, temperatures, and what animals may roam which fields and when. It also would increase inspections of food "facilities" and tax them to do so. And, fulfilling the dream of a long line of agency officials, the bill grants the FDA unilateral authority to order recalls.

READ MORE (Republican-American) ]

Tester Amendment to food ‘safety’ bill puts lipstick on a pig

The voice of controlled opposition wants Americans to believe that the Tester Amendment to S 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, elevates the bill to something we should adopt. The Tester Amendment puts a bandaid on a head wound. It does not stop the most lethal agency in American history from seizing control of the food supply from farm to fork.

Even though Big Ag now opposes S 510, we should continue to oppose the bill, as it amounts to federal assault on food freedom. Agribusiness giants have always opposed the exemption provided in the Tester Amendment. Now that it’s included in the current form of S.510, they’re only making clear that they oppose giving any wiggle room to competition. But from their sudden opposition to S 510, because it now includes an amendment they have always opposed, the public is being lulled into a false sense of confidence in S 510.

READ MORE (Food Freedom) ]

S.510 summaries from the around the web

Various organizations have posted their analysis of what the impact would be from S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, which was moved out of committee yesterday, for a full vote by January 17, 2011. Drawing only from those which oppose S. 510, below are summaries of some of those analyses, along with a link to contact your Senators.

READ MORE (Practical Populism) ]

Food safety bill 101: What are the facts and myths?

Senate Bill 510 – the Food Safety Modernization Act – aims to protect American consumers from picking up contaminated food at the grocery store. So why are critics calling it "the most dangerous bill in the history of the United States"?

The legislation, which is likely to reach a Senate vote after Thanksgiving, would toughen regulations and inspections. It follows well-publicized incidents of contamination in recent years of things that Americans eat every day, including peanuts, spinach, and eggs. Some see the new legislation as necessary to protect not just against accidental or careless contamination, but against an intentional bio-terrorist attack on the US food supply.

READ MORE (Christian Science Monitor) ]

Coalition of Non-Profits Wages War on Genetically Engineered Salmon

Salmon are known for their remarkable ability to swim against strong currents. Perhaps, then, we shouldn't be surprised that efforts to keep genetically engineered (GE) salmon from reaching our plates has felt like an upstream battle. (OK, maybe that's not the cleanest metaphor, but this fight has been far from clean.) Despite warnings from scientists, environmentalists, senators, government agencies, the general public, and even its own advisory panel, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) seems hell-bent on moving forward with the approval of AquaBounty Technologies' AquAdvantage GE salmon.

Thankfully we now have a coalition of 31 stalwart organizations waging war on GE salmon and working to halt the approval of what would be the first transgenic animal approved for human consumption. The coalition is demanding that more testing be conducted to determine the safety of GE salmon for humans and the environment, or at the very least require mandatory labeling if the approval goes through. Other members of the participating organizations are working to protect existing wild salmon fisheries to ensure a safe alternative for consumers. You may recognize many of the national organizations from the coalition — including the Center for Food Safety, Food and Water Watch and the Organic Consumers Association — yet others operate on a smaller scale, such as the Gloucester Fishermen's Wives Association and the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, raising concerns about how this national decision will impact the local level.





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