Two earlier articles addressed corporate friendly legislation masquerading as pro-consumer. In fact, they'll destroy safe food, empower agribusiness and drug giants, and harm small farmers and consumers. Access them through the following links:
This article is a brief follow-up on where things now stand, as the Senate tries to circumvent growing public opposition.
On July 29, 2009, the House passed HR 2749: Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 "To amend the (1938 as amended) Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to improve the safety of food in the global market, and for other purposes."
On March 3, 2009, S. 510: FDA Food Safety Modernization Act was introduced, the Senate's version of the House bill. It stalled after being assailed as anti-consumer and small farmer as well as failing to help food safety. In fact, like the House bill, it's cover for greater industry consolidation, destructive to consumer welfare.
On July 29, 2010, S. 3669: Food Safety Enforcement Act of 2010 was introduced "to increase criminal penalties for certain knowing violations relating to food that is misbranded or adulterated." Referred to committee, it's being considered before a full Senate vote.
Then on September 13, S. 3767: Food Safety Accountability Act of 2010 was introduced "to establish appropriate criminal penalties for certain knowing violations relating to food that is misbranded or adulterated." Also referred to committee, it's being debated before a full Senate vote - likely soon before Congress adjourns to campaign for the November 2 elections.
Despite their language, neither House or Senate bills help food, drug or nutrient supplement safety. Both impair them by empowering agribusiness and drug giants - why it's crucial to defeat the Senate measures while there's time.
So far, one senator (also a physician) remains outspoken and opposed, Tom Coburn (R. OK), saying:
"While some regulations are potentially onerous, but perhaps reasonable - such as requiring every facility to have a scientifically-based, but very flexible, food safety plan - others give FDA sweeping authority with potentially significant consequences....on the whole this bill represents a weighty new regulatory structure on the food industry that will be particularly difficult for small producers and farms to comply with (with little evidence it will make food safer)." In fact, there's none.
Dr. Rima Laibow, Medical Director of the Natural Solutions Foundation alerts everyone to "2 health freedom emergencies," S. 510, and S. 3767, saying:
After S. 510 stalled, S. 3767 was introduced. It's now in the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration, an upcoming vote, likely passage, then full Senate debate before adjourning to campaign. Of major concern is that "S. 510 will be introduced into (S. 3767) as an amendment, (along with) perhaps elements of the long-discredited fake dietary supplement 'safety' bill, S. 3002."
On September 23, she said the Judiciary Committee's Executive Committee considered S. 3767, slightly amended it, but not enough to matter. Passage of a combined S. 3767/S. 510 will "CRIMINALIZE THE DISTRIBUTION OF FOOD," benefitting corporate giants by harming small farmers (including organic ones) and consumers.
Revised language won't stop the FDA, FTC, Department of Agriculture, or other government agencies from deciding any time that "some rule, regulation, guideline or standard had not been met," including "secret" S. 510 provisions.
At issue is protecting small farmers and consumers as well as safe organic and locally grown food and dietary supplements. These bills will restrict or prevent them from being sold on the pretext of non-complaince with regulations, or in some cases claiming they're unsafe.
This is precisely what Ag and drug giants want, giving them full control over the nation's food, drugs, and dietary supplements. In other words, everything ingested for sustenance, nutrition, health and welfare will be in their hands to dominate, process, industrialize, taint, restrict, or prohibit for profit at the expense of consumers, small farmers, and other producers who'll be harmed.
One of many concerns is a provision calling for up to 10 years in prison for "misbranding," with no clear definition provided. For example, the FDA defines misbranding as any food or supplement claiming potential health benefits, even if scientifically proved. "Adulteration" is another issue, by definition including minor or inadvertent administrative or clerical errors, unrelated to food safety.
With regard to vitamins, minerals, and other dietary supplements, the Life Extension Foundation (lef.org) highlighted the problem, headlining "Congress Seeks to put Dietary Supplement Makers in Jail for Ten Years," saying:
Drug giants want to prevent your right to freely choose dietary supplement for health. S. 3767 masquerades as consumer friendly by "punish(ing) anyone who knowingly contaminates food for sale. Since there are already strong laws to punish anyone who commits this crime, this bill (is just cover to enrich) pharmaceutical interests."
"The sinister scheme behind (it) is to exploit the public's concern (for) food safety. Drug companies want to convince your Senators that an overreaching law needs to be enacted to grant the (corporate run) FDA powers to define 'food contamination' any way it chooses."
Besides empowering corporate giants, at issue "is that the FDA will use this as a hammer to threaten and coerce small companies into signing crippling consent decrees that will deny consumers access to truthful non-misleading information about natural approaches to protect against age-related disease." In addition, by so doing, they'll harm their own interests, shutting down many businesses for not being able to show why their products are beneficial.
A Final Comment
If passed, these House and Senate bills will empower agribusiness, legitimize unhealthy industrial food, put small farmers and producers out of business, and harm consumers by restricting their choices, besides making them pay exorbitantly higher prices.
In 1970, Henry Kissinger said: "Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control people."
Concentrating power in the hands of a few Ag/drug giants places everyone at risk. They plan world dominance by patenting all life forms to force-feed GMO foods and drugs on everyone, despite their harm to human health. Safe organic and family farm food will be restricted or disappear. So will beneficial dietary supplements.
Demand Congress defeat these bills and enact "The Food Freedom Amendment," saying:
"No provision of Federal Law giving regulatory oversight to any Federal department or agency shall be deemed to apply (a) to any home, home business, homestead, home or community garden, small farm, organic or natural agricultural activity, (b) to any family farm or ranch, or (c) to any natural or organic food product, including dietary supplements, as protected under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994."
The issue is clearly drawn - defeat Agbiz and Big Pharma or (more than ever) they'll harm human health and welfare. It's our choice if we act - quickly.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.