Normally I don't copy entire articles into the blog; however, this is too important to risk someone not clicking on the source link to get all the info. Please, do take a few moments to read Alison Rose Levy Huffington Post's article below & take action!
This Monday a vote on the Food Safety Bill S510 will affect food
quality, safety and price-- and the rights to health supplements-- for
years to come. Last week, author Michael Pollan added his voice to the
group of citizens and organizations urging people to contact their
Senators to assure that the bill that passes will not undermine the
movement of organic, local sustainable growers and food producers.
Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) and Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation)
as well as the Organic Consumers Organization want concrete assurances
that the bill, as written, won't apply the regulations explicitly
crafted to regulate large industrial facilities (factory farms and
industrial agriculture and manufacturers) to small businesses (family
farmers, organic growers, farmer's markets, food artisans and local
Working behind the scenes, knee deep in legislative policy discussions,
health activists have sought to achieve flexibility within S510 for the
burgeoning consumer-driven industry in healthier, locally grown foods,
supplied by small to medium size operations-- as well as for health
As of now, a refinement of the bill, unveiled last summer, called the
Manager's Package, states that "raw agricultural commodities that the
Secretary has determined are low risk and do not present a risk of
serious adverse health consequences or death" may at the discretion of
the FDA Secretary be asked to comply to modified regulations only. In
addition, this new version omits "any requirements that conflict with or
duplicate the requirements of the national organic program established
under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990..." This is a step
forward for organic and smaller growers.
However, since that protection is discretionary (and since the new
FDA Food Czar is a former Monsanto executive) that protection would be
enhanced by the Tester Amendment, proposed by Senator Jon Tester. That
amendment got support from Pollan, Schlosser, and 128 national
organizations. Its provisions would assure that small businesses (under
500k in sales), and those who sell direct to consumers would be exempted
from onerous paper work and compliance provisions, necessary only for
large industrial suppliers. The concern has been that the costs of
compliance and paperwork would drive small suppliers out of business. If
the Tester Amendment is included in the bill, it will help. Senator
Tester in a press briefing today, said that, "Without this amendment, my
concern is that small suppliers will be crushed under the weight of
these regulations." You can go here
to call your Senator, and urge to him or her to vote "Yes" for the
Tester Amendment, and also mention the talking points below. Update: The Tester Amendment has passed, but PR firms for agribusinesses are lobbying for its removal behind the scenes.
With dietary supplements recently outlawed abroad, there is
tremendous concern about this bill being a Trojan Horse for a take down
of the healthy supplements industry. New language has been added to
exempt "...any dietary supplement that is in compliance with the
requirements of sections 402(g)(2) and 761 of the Federal Food, Drug and
Cosmetic Act (21 USC 242(g)(2), 379aa-1)."
What's more, S510 would enforce automatic harmonization with CODEX, an international law that would supercede American law.
The organization, Citizens for Health (CFH) also points out
disturbing and unacceptable language in the House version of the bill,
which "calls for the effective imposition of martial law through
cordoning off potentially affected geographic areas in the case of a
perceived food transport safety threat in order to halt the movement of
food." This leaves the door open for the abuse of such power, CFH
claims. Their action link is href="http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/750/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=5255" target="_hplink">here.
To call both your Senators, find their contact information at
www.Senate.gov or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
Or for a more comprehensive list, go here.
For health insight, activism and radio, www.healthjournalistblog.com