News for December 3, 2010
Was It the Good-Cop-Bad-Cop Routine That Enticed So Many Foodies to Sanction FDA's Takeover of Food System?
I keep asking myself, how did we ever get to this point, where political and economic control of America's food system is on the verge of being turned over to a government agency whose leaders declared early this year we have "no absolute right" to "any particular food" or to "bodily and physical health."
I keep thinking about the old Soviet Union's control of food system, where, in the interests of the revolution (food safety), farms were turned into collectives (facilities), which produced grand five-year plans (HACCP plans), reenforced by centralized standards (Good Agricultural Practices), and there were special exemptions for private peasant plots (Tester-Hagan exemptions). It all led to chronic shortages, terrible quality, and eventual collapse.
[ READ MORE (Complete Patient) ]
The real nitty-gritty on small farms and the food-safety bill
As recently as Monday, the Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510) seemed set to sail through the House and to the president's desk for rubber-stamping. But now it's stalled in the Senate yet again, due to a technical error that could well sink the legislation -- and with it any prospects for food-safety reform for a generation. While advocates fight for the bill's life amid the chaos of the lame-duck Senate, renewed opposition to S. 510 is popping up in some surprising corners.
Many family-scale farm supporters had been overjoyed at the inclusion of the Tester-Hagan amendment into the Manager's amendment package. Tester-Hagan is designed to protect small farms and processors from onerous regulations more appropriate to mega-scale food manufacturers and processors.
[ READ MORE (Grist) ]
The Fourth Overhaul
First the Obama administration overhauled the auto industry. Then healthcare. Followed by an overhaul of the financial sector, and now comes the overhaul of the Food And Drug Administration with new powers and funding coming with the passage of The Food Safety Modernization act. However Mike Adams of NATURAL NEWS says it’s being hailed as a “breakthrough” achievement in food safety, and it would hand vast new powers and funding to the FDA so that it can clean up the food supply and protect all Americans from food-borne pathogens. There’s just one problem with all this: It’s all a big lie.
Here’s a whopper the mainstream media won’t dare report: Out of the 1,809 people who die in America every year from food-borne pathogens (CDC estimate), only a fraction die from the manufacturer’s contamination of fresh produce. By far the majority of food poisoning is caused by the consumption of spoiled processed foods, dead foods and animal-human transmission of pathogens.
[ READ MORE (WHTC) ]
The food industry plays regulatory roulette
After championing a bill to heighten federal regulations and empower the Food and Drug Administration, some of the food industry's giants found themselves last week trying to kill the measure.
The lobby for large food retailers and processors spent two years championing the big-government Food Safety Enhancement Act, while small farmers and processors said the bill's "one-size-fits-all" regulatory requirements would kill Mom & Pop, helping the big guys.
[ READ MORE (Washington Examiner) ]
For food-safety overhaul, lobbyists rushed to the table
The overhaul of food safety laws recently passed by the Senate had the support of business interests, consumer groups and lawmakers from both parties, but the bipartisan legislation still generated plenty of work along the K Street corridor.
At least 221 organizations hired 77 lobbying shops to quibble over details in the Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act since it was introduced by sponsor Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) at the beginning of last year. At times, industry organizations and corporate heavyweights with a stake in the bill -- such as the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the National Restaurant Association, the Natural Products Association, Abbott Laboratories and Anheuser-Busch -- retained multiple District firms to represent their interests. Many also deployed their own government relations staff to the Hill, a Capital Business analysis of Senate lobbying records shows.
[ READ MORE (Washington Post) ]
The Food Cycle: Recall, Forget, Repeat
Surveys show that Americans are concerned about food contamination, but experts say that recalls have only a short-term effect on consumers.
“We don’t see food leaving our diet because of safety issues,” said Harry Balzer, vice president of the NPD Group, the market research firm. After a recall, “habit always drives us back to that place where we were.”
[ READ MORE (New York Times) ]
Farmer wants review of distribution laws
Michael Schmidt says it is high time the Canadian government launched a review of its laws over the distribution of raw milk.
The Ontario farmer, who was speaking in Regina on Sunday, has long argued that farmers should be able to distribute raw (unpasteurized) milk to consumers who want it, even going to court over the matter in his home province.
[ READ MORE (Leader Post) ]
Raw milk farmer in contempt, avoids penalty
The former operator of a Chilliwack-based cow-sharing co-op has been found in contempt of court for illegally distributing raw milk but isn't expected to be punished.
Alice Jongerden of Home On The Range dairy "willfully disobeyed" a March 2010 court order barring her from making raw milk available to cow-share members, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled Dec. 2.
[ READ MORE (BC Local News) ]