Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Left-Fascism on the Farm: Lose your property for growing food?


With the immense growth in the Federal budget comes immense control over more and more sectors of life, by a dead-handed Washington bureaucracy.  Less freedom, not more.  And not the kind of "change" most people anticipated.  But like it or not, that's what you will get.  Here's a new bill coming down from on-high, creating a small new army of agricultural inspectors, who will basically ham-string every small farm and producer with draconian bureaucratic regulations that only the Mega-Farms could afford to implement.

http://www.ftcldf.org/news/news-02mar2009.htm
HR 875 - The Federal Take-Over of Food Regulation
Edited 3/13/09
On February 4, 2009 Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (HR 875), a bill that would establish the Food Safety Administration (FSA) within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).   HR 875 represents a tremendous expansion of federal power, particularly the power to regulate intrastate commerce.  While the proposed legislation tries to address the many problems of the industrial food system, the impact on small farms if the bill becomes law would be substantial and not for the better.  HR 875 is a major threat to sustainable farming and the local food movement. 
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Here's more....

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=92002

Lose your property for growing food?
Big Brother legislation could mean prosecution, fines up to $1 million

By Chelsea Schilling

Some small farms and organic food growers could be placed under direct supervision of the federal government under new legislation making its way through Congress.

Food Safety Modernization Act
House Resolution 875, or the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, was introduced by Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., in February. DeLauro's husband, Stanley Greenburg, works for Monsanto - the world's leading producer of herbicides and genetically engineered seed.

DeLauro's act has 39 co-sponsors and was referred to the House Agriculture Committee on Feb. 4. It calls for the creation of a Food Safety Administration to allow the government to regulate food production at all levels - and even mandates property seizure, fines of up to $1 million per offense and criminal prosecution for producers, manufacturers and distributors who fail to comply with regulations.

Michael Olson, host of the Food Chain radio show and author of "Metro Farm," told WND the government should focus on regulating food production in countries such as China and Mexico rather than burdening small and organic farmers in the U.S. with overreaching regulations.

"We need somebody to watch over us when we're eating food that comes from thousands and thousands of miles away. We need some help there," he said. "But when food comes from our neighbors or from farmers who we know, we don't need all of those rules. If your neighbor sells you something that is bad and you get sick, you are going to get your hands on that farmer, and that will be the end of it. It regulates itself."

The legislation would establish the Food Safety Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services "to protect the public health by preventing food-borne illness, ensuring the safety of food, improving research on contaminants leading to food-borne illness, and improving security of food from intentional contamination, and for other purposes."

Federal regulators will be tasked with ensuring that food producers, processors and distributors - both large and small - prevent and minimize food safety hazards such as food-borne illnesses and contaminants such as bacteria, chemicals, natural toxins or manufactured toxicants, viruses, parasites, prions, physical hazards or other human pathogens.

Under the legislation's broad wording, slaughterhouses, seafood processing plants, establishments that process, store, hold or transport all categories of food products prior to delivery for retail sale, farms, ranches, orchards, vineyards, aquaculture facilities and confined animal-feeding operations would be subject to strict government regulation.

Government inspectors would be required to visit and examine food production facilities, including small farms, to ensure compliance. They would review food safety records and conduct surveillance of animals, plants, products or the environment.
"What the government will do is bring in industry experts to tell them how to manage all this stuff," Olson said. "It's industry that's telling government how to set these things up. What it always boils down to is who can afford to have the most influence over the government. It would be those companies that have sufficient economies of scale to be able to afford the influence - which is, of course, industrial agriculture."

Farms and food producers would be forced to submit copies of all records to federal inspectors upon request to determine whether food is contaminated, to ensure they are in compliance with food safety laws and to maintain government tracking records. Refusal to register, permit inspector access or testing of food or equipment would be prohibited.

"What is going to happen is that local agriculture will end up suffering through some onerous protocols designed for international agriculture that they simply don't need," Olson said. "Thus, it will be a way for industrial agriculture to manage local agriculture."

Under the act, every food producer must have a written food safety plan describing likely hazards and preventative controls they have implemented and must abide by "minimum standards related to fertilizer use, nutrients, hygiene, packaging, temperature controls, animal encroachment, and water."

"That opens a whole can of worms," Olson said. "I think that's where people are starting to freak out about losing organic agriculture. Who is going to decide what the minimum standards are for fertilization or anything else? The government is going to bring in big industry and say we are setting up these protocols, so what do you think we should do? Who is it going to bring in to ask? The government will bring in people who have economies of scale who have that kind of influence."
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Section 304 of the Food Safety Modernization Act establishes a group of "experts and stakeholders from Federal, State, and local food safety and health agencies, the food industry, consumer organizations, and academia" to make recommendations for improving food-borne illness surveillance.
According to the act, "Any person that commits an act that violates the food safety law Š may be assessed a civil penalty by the Administrator of not more than $1,000,000 for each such act."
Each violation and each separate day the producer is in defiance of the law would be considered a separate offense and an additional penalty. The act suggests federal administrators consider the gravity of the violation, the degree of responsibility and the size and type of business when determining penalties.

Criminal sanctions may be imposed if contaminated food causes serious illness or death, and offenders may face fines and imprisonment of up to 10 years.
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