[permaculture] HR2749 (S. 510)

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lflj at bellsouth.net
Tue Sep 15 22:02:51 EDT 2009


Johnathan Avery Yelenick wrote:
> Hi Y'all,
> 
> Just passing along some information of interest to farmers on this list
> who may produce value-added products. You might be affected. See below...
> I'm passing along this message from the Market Farm list I'm on.

Please do not Xpost anything from that list into this forum. Any news
there gets jacked around by loons and their personal agendas to the point
that what started out as useful becomes useless. And they are mostly of a non-sustainable/organic
or anti-sustainable/organic bent, pro chemical farming and probably clueless about PermaCulture, too [P]olitically
[C]orrect for them most likely.

You can read worthwhile news updates on this bill in the sanet forum and its arhives.
See in particular all posts from Chrys Ostrander, especially ones over the past year.
They are easy to find month by month, just sort by message author.

Visit the SANET-MG archives at: http://lists.sare.org/archives/sanet-mg.html.
Questions? Visit http://www.sare.org/about/sanetFAQ.htm.
For more information on grants and other resources available through the SARE program, please visit http://www.sare.org.

Here's the most recent from Chrys who wrote the post you forwarded and was given no credit for it, as hell of a note
but as expected from those loons:

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [SANET-MG] Tell Consumer Groups Food Safety Regs MUST Protect Small Farmers
Date: Sat, 5 Sep 2009 07:29:35 -0700
Chrys Ostrander <chrys at THEFUTUREISORGANIC.NET>
To: SANET-MG at LISTS.IFAS.UFL.EDU

www.makeourfoodsafe.org is pushing for Senate action on a Senate food
safety bill, S. 510, introduced by Senator Richard Durbin, (Dem.
Illinois). Below is the wording of a petition the group is sending to
folks using the <http://www.thepetitionsite.com/>Care2 Petition Site.

Not a word about protecting small-scale and family farms and
small-scale food producers! It's outrageous.
Dear Senator,
One in four Americans will get sick from tainted food this year and
about 5,000 will die, but this doesn't have to be the case. Foodborne
illness is preventable -- if producers and food manufacturers were
required to develop plans aimed at preventing bacterial contamination
in food and the FDA had the authority and tools necessary to oversee
and better ensure the safety of the food supply. The House
overwhelmingly passed comprehensive bipartisan food safety
legislation (the Food Safety Enhancement Act, H.R. 2749) in July. I
call on you to support quick Senate action on strong legislation that
would create a comprehensive system for preventing and responding to
foodborne illness.
Senator Durbin and a bipartisan group of his colleagues have
introduced S. 510, which would help start this process. The Senate
should move S. 510 with strengthening amendments similar to the
House-passed bill as soon as possible.
Any bill that is ultimately enacted must contain some fundamental
components: risk-based inspection of food manufacturers with a
minimum inspection frequency of once every 6-12 months for high-risk
food factories; strong requirements to ensure that imported foods are
safe and that contaminated foods can be swiftly traced to their
source; a requirement that companies routinely test for contaminants
and report any test results that show contamination to FDA; and
mandatory recall authority for FDA and the power to promptly levy
penalties on companies that produce unsafe food. Moreover, it is
important that legislation provide strengthened coordination and
capacity building across federal, state and local governments for
food-borne illness detection, surveillance, laboratories and response.
[Your comment here]
Sincerely,
[Your name here]
Here's a list of the organizations that make up
www.makeourfoodsafe.org (aka "Do something! Anything! Just get these
bugs off my spinach!").

These groups need to hear from YOU! No food safety bill without
specific protections for small-scale and family farms and small-scale
food producers!


AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION
<http://www.apha.org>www.apha.org
Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (Emeritus)
Executive Director
<mailto:georges.benjamin at apha.org>georges.benjamin at apha.org<mailto:georges.benjamin at apha.org>


CENTER FOR FOODBORNE ILLNESS RESEARCH & EDUCATION (CFI)
<http://www.foodborneillness.org>www.foodborneillness.org
Patricia Buck, Executive Director
<mailto:buck at foodborneillness.org>buck at foodborneillness.<mailto:buck at foodborneillness.org>org


CENTER FOR SCIENCE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST (CSPI)
<http://www.cspinet.org>www.cspinet.org
<mailto:cspi at cspinet.org>cspi at cspinet.<mailto:cspi at cspinet.org>org
Attn: Ms. Kathleen O'Reilly (President)

CONSUMER FEDERATION OF AMERICA (CFA)
<http://www.consumerfed.org>www.consumerfed.org
<mailto:cfa at consumerfed.org>cfa at consumerfed.<mailto:cfa at consumerfed.org>org
CFA's
<http://www.facebook.com/pages/Consumer-Federation-of-America/95864855975?ref=share/>Facebook<http://www.facebook.com/pages/Consumer-Federation-of-America/95864855975?ref=share/> 

Page

CONSUMERS UNION (CU)
<http://www.consumersunion.org>www.consumersunion.org
Web-based
<http://custhelp.consumerreports.org/cgi-bin/consumerreports.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php>email
form. Under "Choose Product or Service" choose "ConsumerReports.org
Website". Another pull-down menu will appear. This time choose
"Letter to the Editor". Once you've done this, a box for you to write
your comment will appear.
You can also try the phone and ask to speak with Jean Halloran,
Director of Food Policy Initiatives.
(202) 462-6262

FOOD AND WATER WATCH
<http://www.fwwatch.org>www.fwwatch.org
Web-based <http://www.fwwatch.org/about/contact-us>email form.

THE PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS
<http://www.pewtrusts.org/foodsafety>www.pewtrusts.org/foodsafety
<mailto:info at pewtrusts.org>info at pewtrusts.<mailto:info at pewtrusts.org>org
Erik Olson, Director, Food and Consumer Product Safety Programs
202.552.2091

STOP (Safe Tables Our Priority)
<http://www.safetables.org>www.safetables.org
Executive Director, Donna Rosenbaum
<mailto:director at safetables.org>director at safetables.<mailto:director at safetables.org>org

TRUST FOR AMERICA'S HEALTH (TFAH)
<http://www.tfah.org>www.tfah.org
Governor Lowell Weicker, Jr., President
<mailto:info at tfah.org>info at tfah.<mailto:info at tfah.org>org Attn:
Lowell Weicker, Jr., President



-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [SANET-MG] What About the Senate Food Safety Bill?
Date: Mon, 14 Sep 2009 11:32:13 -0700
From: Chrys Ostrander <chrys at THEFUTUREISORGANIC.NET>
To: SANET-MG at LISTS.IFAS.UFL.EDU

Folks,

This is a lot to read and I've tried to get it
mostly right, but I think it's crucial and worth
the time. Please let me know if you think I've erred or left stuff out.

HR 2749 having already passed in the House, the
Senate, if you remember your civics classes, also
must come up with a bill and then the two
chambers get together in conference committee to
draft a bill for the President to sign.

Right now the most prominent Senate bill is S.
510, the Food Safety Modernization Act. Passage
of a new federal food safety law may or may not
sound the death knell for thousands of small
farms and small-scale food processors, set back
progress towards relocalized food systems and
hobble the movement towards more sustainable
local economies, depending on what the final provisions call for.

I've attempted to "read" the text of S. 510, the
Food Safety Modernization Act using an intriguing
web two-point-oh resource called
<http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-s510/show>opencongress.org.
I haven't had much luck making sense of a law
that is nothing more than a long series of
disembodied insertions and deletions to other
laws. That seems to require a lawyer.
http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-s510/show

Well, there is a lawyer who has done it and who
has summarized the bill's provisions. He is none
other than Bill Marler, the country's preeminent
personal injury attorney specializing in
food-bourne illness litigation. While any respect
I have for Marler's legal expertise is tempered
by my nagging impression that Marler is something
of an egocentric 21st century ambulance chaser,
dauntless in his pursuit of legal fees from
food-bourne illness cases, he is very good at
what he does and his summaries of S. 510 and HR
2749 are useful as we contemplate what we need to
demand of lawmakers to avert a regulatory
disaster for small farms and small-scale food processors.

Since Marler is a powerful lawyer, I won't cut
and paste his summaries here claiming the fair
use doctrine, but here are the links, so his text is only a click away:



<http://www.marlerblog.com/2009/09/articles/lawyer-oped/s-510-fda-food-safety-modernization-act-introduced-in-senate/>S.
510 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act Summarized by Bill Marler

http://www.marlerblog.com/2009/09/articles/lawyer-oped/s-510-fda-food-safety-modernization-act-introduced-in-senate/

<http://www.marlerblog.com/2009/08/articles/lawyer-oped/a-friday-and-saturday-night-read-hr-2749-food-safety-enhancement-act-2009-so-whats-really-in-it/>HR 

2749 the Food Safety Enhancement Act Summarized by Bill Marler
http://www.marlerblog.com/2009/08/articles/lawyer-oped/a-friday-and-saturday-night-read-hr-2749-food-safety-enhancement-act-2009-so-whats-really-in-it/

And a final word about Marler: He does make, at
the end of his summary of HR 2749, some very good
comments about exempting producers who sell
direct to the consumer from these laws and the
"need to balance safety with environmental policy
- both energy/global warming and protection of
biodiversity.  We need a food policy that helps create healthy humans."

In regards to S. 510, here's what I come away with:

S. 510 exempts farms, restaurants, other retail
food establishments, nonprofit food
establishments in which food is prepared for or
served directly to the consumer and most fishing
vessels from "registration" as "facilities" with
the FDA (registration creates the obligation of
the registrants to comply with the protocols and
record-keeping provisions of the law and exposes
them to the penalties and fines). It's also
important to note that S. 510 does not contain
registration fees as does HR 2749 with its much
maligned one-size-fits-all $500 fees for all
registrants, regardless of size or level of
potential risk, however, this is off set by
hiding the fees registered facilities would be
required to pay for in "re-inspection fees"
(like, you didn't have every single detail in
line when you had your free, routine inspection,
so you need to be re-inspected. Believe me,
that'll cost you. And there will be a great
incentive for the FDA to find reasons to
re-inspect you since, according to Marler, "fees
collected are available until expended ? can be
used for FDA salaries, as necessary").

But whatever is given in this exemption for farms
is almost entirely taken away by the definition of what a farm is:
"Farm means a facility in one general physical
location devoted to the growing and harvesting of
crops, the raising of animals (including
seafood), or both. Washing, trimming of outer
leaves of, and cooling produce are considered
part of harvesting. The term farm includes: (i)
Facilities that pack or hold food, provided that
all food used in such activities is grown,
raised, or consumed on that farm or another farm
under the same ownership; and (ii) Facilities
that manufacture/process food, provided that all
food used in such activities is consumed on that
farm or another farm under the same ownership."
(S. 510 uses the definition of a farm that's in 21cfr1.227)

As we all know, the USDA and just about every
county extension office across the country have
for decades been encouraging small farms to
diversify and incorporate value-added activities
in their business plans. If you're a small farm
and you make a little extra spending money making
raspberry jam or bake your apples into pies to
sell to local stores or at the farmers market, S.
510 will require you to register with the FDA,
develop a HACCP plan, implement it and keep
records on its implementation, etc. etc. etc. ad
nauseam. If you are, or you know a small-scale
diversified farmer or artisan food processor, you
know that their workdays are already long and
hard and their profit margins slim. Many would
simply throw in the towel under this type of
regulatory burden. There MUST be some scale-based
exemptions from registration afforded to farms
that also do some processing and for food
processors who process local product. At the very
least we should insist that S. 510 include a
definition for ?retail food establishments? that
allows for some cottage level processing without
invoking FDA oversight, and regulation and
exemptions in the registration and record-keeping
sections of the bill for direct market farmers,
as was added to HR 2749 prior to passage.

A VERY troubling aspect of both these bills is a
provision that the FDA is charged with coming up
with federal production standards for fruits and
vegetables. This is linked with the "leafy
greens" debate that is also just as hot now as
the food safety debate. Such standards are not
needed, in my opinion, as outbreaks from fruits
and veggies are relatively rare and occur more at
the processing end than at the production end
(the spinach fiasco would not have been that bad
if so much spinach wouldn't have been processed
in one plant). Such standards carry the very real
risk that they would favor producers who have the
deep pockets to retool their production to comply
while forcing the smaller producer out of
business. We're already seeing the impact of the
Calif. leafy greens marketing agreement. Now
there are hearings about a "voluntary" federal
leafy green marketing agreement. Besides the cost
and paperwork aspects and the destructioon of
bio-diversity (as evidenced by Calif's
experience) there is the added issue that some
buyers won't buy from you if you don't do as the
marketing agreement/order dictates, making the
program's "voluntaryness" a moot point. FDA
production standards will not be, to the best of
my knowledge, voluntary. Best management
practices on the farm I believe are best left to
local institutions like extension and need not be
federalized; at least not for the small to mid-sized producer.

So, S 510 will need to be improved. For this you need to contact yourSenators.

Some say, it's just a power grab by big ag to put
the smaller producer out of business. Certainly
there are elements of that. But I don't believe
the answer is to just flat out oppose the bill
and leave it at that without QUALIFYING your
opposition with demands for improvements in the
bill's language. Passage of a federal food safety
law is very likely. The aim is to minimize the
damage. Of course, if we somehow were able to
generate a huge groundswell of loud, qualified
opposition, we could get congress to make the
changes we seek. We could do it if we get groups
like Farm Aid and the Farm Bureau and some of the
producer trade groups to side with us and back
the same proposals. But it starts with you
picking up the phone today and chatting with your
Senator's ag rep. Okay? Pick up the phone.

Chrys Ostrander

PS Breaking News (from the Nat'l Sustainable Agriculture Coalition):

New Food Safety Report:  On Thursday, September
10, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade
Policy and Food and Water Watch released an
excellent
<http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=%2BXJNP3pvJqN2Vam0MkEFkmEbp4fLaVAm>new
food safety report,
http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=%2BXJNP3pvJqN2Vam0MkEFkmEbp4fLaVAm
"Bridging the GAPS: Strategies to Improve Produce
Safety, Preserve Farm Diversity and Strengthen
Local Food Systems."  Written by Elanor Starmer
and Marie Kulick, the report is a welcomed
addition to the public discourse as Senator Tom
Harkin (D-IA), incoming Chairman of the Senate
Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
and other committee members consider food safety
legislation (S. 510), and the Agricultural
Marketing Service (AMS) of USDA holds hearings on
a proposed national Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement.



-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [SANET-MG] Food Safety but Not at the Expense of Safe Food!
Date: Mon, 14 Sep 2009 11:47:46 -0700
From: Chrys Ostrander <chrys at THEFUTUREISORGANIC.NET>
Reply-To: Sustainable Agriculture Network Discussion Group              <SANET-MG at LISTS.IFAS.UFL.EDU>, 
Chrys Ostrander <chrys at THEFUTUREISORGANIC.NET>
To: SANET-MG at LISTS.IFAS.UFL.EDU

Folks,

Here's what I sent to a group of consumer protection organizations
who are asking their members to support S. 510, the Food Safety
Modernization Act, without mentioning that their support should be
qualified with statements demanding that small farms and small-scale
food processors should be protected from undue negative impact from
the bill. My list of recipients is at the bottom.

=====
To Whom it May Concern,

So, in support of your mission to protect consumers,
<http://www.makeourfoodsafe.org/>makeourfoodsafe.<http://www.makeourfoodsafe.org/>org
supports the passage of Senate Bill 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act.

Let me tell you I am outraged that you are asking the public to
support this bill without one word about protecting the interests of
small farms and small-scale food processors in the process. Don't you
realize the huge benefits that accrue to consumers by having readily
available locally grown and artisanally-produced foods? Better
nutrition from eating fresher, less processed foods is one benefit.
And in light of the fact that most food-bourne illness outbreaks, and
certainly all of the ones that have resulted in dozens if not
hundreds of illnesses and forced the recall of massive quantities of
foods, have originated in large-scale industrial food processing
factories, it's clear that local, smaller scale food production is
safer for the consumer. Yet you want your consumer base to shoot
themselves in the foot by supporting a federal food safety law that
could potentially put hundreds of farms (the ones who have
diversified and improved their financial viability by including some
value-added products in what they produce and sell) and small-scale
food processors out of business? Consumers are rightly concerned
about food safety, but imposing one-size-fits-all regulations, many
of which require a sea of paperwork, registration fees and/or
re-inspection fees and expensive re-tooling will drive the smaller
producer right out of business and create a situation where even more
of your consumers' foods will come from high-risk industrial-scale
factories. We're just seeing the beginning of re-localization of our
food system, a movement that has multiple consumer benefits, but S.
510 as written has the potential to do serious harm to this new positive trend.

On top of that, the food safety approach that is being promoted in
these bills (including HR 2749) fails to address the root causes of
the food safety crisis that our nation faces. Please read
<http://www.r-calfusa.com/food_safety/090909%20R-CALF%20USA%20Food%20Safety%20Letter%20to%20U.S.%20Senate,%20Final.pdf>a
compelling argument from Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United
Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA), on why the approach being
promoted in HR 2749 and S 510 will NOT protect consumers.

http://www.r-calfusa.com/food_safety/090909%20R-CALF%20USA%20Food%20Safety%20Letter%20to%20U.S.%20Senate,%20Final.pdf

Why is R-CALF USA concerned about this issue? Because they know how
poor food safety regulation, which HR 2749/S 510 simply perpetuates,
has impacted their economic viability by spreading fear of their
product among the populace. Their beef is most often processed in
factories they have no control over. These factories and are left, by
poor food safety regulation, to police themselves with little or no
inspection, promising instead to follow HACCP plans that may only
exist on paper. Hence increasingly common outbreaks and recalls.

At the very least you should be asking your audience to support
inclusion in S. 510 of the language that was inserted into HR 2749
that specifically exempts small farms and small-scale food processors
who sell primarily to the end consumer from the most burdensome
provisions of this federal regulation. It's obvious going by the
record of safety of these types of foods that state and county
regulations of these producers is already adequate.

You need to try and see the big picture and not assume your audience
can't understand a small level of nuance in your messages to them.
Local foods produced by small farms and small-scale food producers
benefit consumers. Your message in support of food safety regulation
should include a qualifier that such regulation should not put
unreasonable and  undue burden on small farms and small-scale food
producers and should also not put undue emphasis on continuing the
failed food safety approach that has brought us to this brink. To do
otherwise, while presenting the illusion that you are "doing
something" about food safety, will ultimately hurt the consumer you
purport to be speaking for. You need to rethink your whole approach.
Consumers and small-scale food producers are natural allies. Don't
leave us out of your messaging.

Recipients:

These groups need to hear from YOU! No food safety bill without
specific protections for small-scale and family farms and small-scale
food producers!


AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION
<http://www.apha.org>www.apha.org
Georges C. Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (Emeritus)
Executive Director
<mailto:georges.benjamin at apha.org>georges.benjamin at apha.org<mailto:georges.benjamin at apha.org>


CENTER FOR FOODBORNE ILLNESS RESEARCH & EDUCATION (CFI)
<http://www.foodborneillness.org>www.foodborneillness.org
Patricia Buck, Executive Director
<mailto:buck at foodborneillness.org>buck at foodborneillness.<mailto:buck at foodborneillness.org>org


CENTER FOR SCIENCE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST (CSPI)
<http://www.cspinet.org>www.cspinet.org
<mailto:cspi at cspinet.org>cspi at cspinet.<mailto:cspi at cspinet.org>org
Attn: Ms. Kathleen O'Reilly (President)

CONSUMER FEDERATION OF AMERICA (CFA)
<http://www.consumerfed.org>www.consumerfed.org
<mailto:cfa at consumerfed.org>cfa at consumerfed.<mailto:cfa at consumerfed.org>org
CFA's
<http://www.facebook.com/pages/Consumer-Federation-of-America/95864855975?ref=share/>Facebook<http://www.facebook.com/pages/Consumer-Federation-of-America/95864855975?ref=share/> 

Page

CONSUMERS UNION (CU)
<http://www.consumersunion.org>www.consumersunion.org
Web-based
<http://custhelp.consumerreports.org/cgi-bin/consumerreports.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php>email
form. Under "Choose Product or Service" choose "ConsumerReports.org
Website". Another pull-down menu will appear. This time choose
"Letter to the Editor". Once you've done this, a box for you to write
your comment will appear.
You can also try the phone and ask to speak with Jean Halloran,
Director of Food Policy Initiatives.
(202) 462-6262

FOOD AND WATER WATCH
<http://www.fwwatch.org>www.fwwatch.org
Web-based <http://www.fwwatch.org/about/contact-us>email form.

THE PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS
<http://www.pewtrusts.org/foodsafety>www.pewtrusts.org/foodsafety
<mailto:info at pewtrusts.org>info at pewtrusts.<mailto:info at pewtrusts.org>org
Erik Olson, Director, Food and Consumer Product Safety Programs
202.552.2091

STOP (Safe Tables Our Priority)
<http://www.safetables.org>www.safetables.org
Executive Director, Donna Rosenbaum
<mailto:director at safetables.org>director at safetables.<mailto:director at safetables.org>org

TRUST FOR AMERICA'S HEALTH (TFAH)
<http://www.tfah.org>www.tfah.org
Governor Lowell Weicker, Jr., President
<mailto:info at tfah.org>info at tfah.<mailto:info at tfah.org>org Attn:
Lowell Weicker, Jr., President











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