[permaculture] Food Safety Bill - follow thread in sanet-mg list

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lflj at intrex.net
Thu Mar 26 01:50:35 EDT 2009

Re: Food Safety Bill - follow thread in Sanet-MG archives March 2009 and beyond:
Sanet-MG Archives  <---2009--->

March 2009

SANET-MG Archives -- March 2009 (#86)
Subject:	 A National Voice to Defend Sustainable Ag from Bad Food Safety Law
From:	Chrys Ostrander <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:	Sustainable Agriculture Network Discussion Group <[log in to unmask]>, Chrys Ostrander <[log in to unmask]>
Date:	Tue, 24 Mar 2009 08:49:29 -0700


There's a lot of work to do in the upcoming
months to make sure that whatever proposed
federal food safety laws rise to the top, and for
that matter any recommendations coming from the
White House food safety task force, do not
devastate small-scale farmers, small-scale food
producers, local food systems, biodiversity, the
ability of organic farmers to maintain their organic status, etc.

In my opinion, the best organization for focusing
our concerns, winnowing out misinformation,
engaging the grassroots, crafting the required
language and effectively lobbying congress in our
name is the
Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. Take a look at
their website and their list of recent activity
and I think you'll agree that NSAC is the
national organization to defend us as politicians
and bureaucrats scramble to "do something" in the
face of continuing food safety crises, mostly
arising from industrial-scale food production.

NSAC just concluded their winter meeting in
Washington D.C. where they set their annual
priorities as a coalition (they base the work
that they do in D.C. on what the voting members
of the coalition - 44 grassroots organizations
from the across the country - collectively decide
should be the priorities for the coming
year).  NSAC has not completely finalized those
decisions yet, but I was told they will be
involved in doing some level of analysis of food
safety issues. However, I got the impression
their planned involvement at this point in food
safety issues may be more limited than the
magnitude of the threat we face really requires.

So, what I believe needs to happen is YOU need to
let NSAC know that you have BIG concerns about
imminent food safety law changes and ask NSAC to
take on the issue in a BIG way.

The way to do this is to look at the
of organizations that make up
membership. See if you already belong to one or
more of them and if not, JOIN one or more of
them. Then contact the organization(s) and
strongly urge them to request NSAC take a
comprehensive approach to addressing the
potential threats to small-scale sustainable
agriculture posed by imminent changes in food
safety laws.  If you already belong to one,
and tell them which organization you belong to
and ask NSAC directly to fully embrace a
comprehensive approach to addressing food safety
law. Clicking on a staffer's name on their
contact page opens a blank email message to that staffer.

Here are just a few places to look for more background info:

To get a grasp of the magnitude of the task at
hand, please read the following summaries of proposed food safety laws:

1) Go here:

   2) Read this summary by Martha Goodsell, who
owns Fallow Hollow Farms in Tioga County, NY and
is a very well respected sustainable ag activist:

Here's my response I've been sending out to those that ask:

Yes I've researched HR 845, but no, not all of
what you're reading is true. Here's some research
I've done on the food bills. I'm most concerned
with Senate bill 510 and House bill 1332. Watch
them very closely. The bills are very similar
though not conferenced at this point.  They are
broad sweeping reform bills, just as vague as HR
875 and could be just as, if not more,
detrimental to small scale farmers and
processors. Unlike HR 875 which exempts some
activities which fall under the Federal Meat
Inspection Act or the Poultry Products inspection
Acts and specifically excludes in section 3.14
any farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture
facility, or confined animal-feeding operation,
there are no such express exceptions in these
other two bills. The record keeping, product
testing and HACCP requirements (all
electronically of course) would be, in my
opinion, overwhelming for most small scale
operations. Look what HACCP did to our
slaughterhouses-- gone! Any bill that will
require one-size rules must be watched intently.
These two bills( S510 and HR 1332)  have
bi-partisan support so don't let them off your
radar by any means. Read them for yourself.


In the meantime, here's my submission to the
Broader View Weekly, a small hometown paper, I write for.

Food Safety Bills of 2009
By Martha Goodsell
Internet users are up in arms regarding House
Bill 875, the Food Safety Modernization Act, but
much of what is circulating over the network is
hype and inflated fears. However, that’s not to
say that HR 875 is not a threat to both small
scale and organic farmers and those consumers who
support such farms. In its present form, it is a
very real- though not a highly probable- threat.
HR 875 is not the only food safety bill recently
proposed following the peanut butter
contamination. There are six other bills that must be monitored.
There are two federal agencies charged with food
safety. The United States Department of
Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for wholesome
meat and poultry under the guidelines of the
Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and the
Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA). The Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) on the other hand,
has the responsibility for oversight of
manufactured food products, and all those
products not under USDA jurisdiction. Unlike the
USDA who inspects products and ensures Hazard
Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP)
compliance in slaughterhouses and in meat and
poultry product processing facilities, the FDA is
charged with the annual inspection of
manufacturing facilities. Only a few products
monitored by the FDA are required to have and follow HACCP plans.
Thanks to Upton Sinclair, and his book The
Jungle, the USDA oversight on meat and poultry is
much stricter than for other food products
currently. Many of these bills are looking to
change that, by requiring food manufacturers to
have and follow HACCP plans, which includes
strict record keeping requirements. Unfortunately
HACCP implementation poses a greater obstacle to
small plants compared to larger facilities. Thus,
the single greatest problem with all of these
newly proposed food safety bills are that they
are not designed with small and large operations
in mind. Rather, they are written with a
“one-size-fits-all” approach. Knowing that many
small operations will chose to close their doors,
rather than comply with testing, record keeping,
and all sorts of other requirements, these bills
indirectly interfere with the rights of
individuals to choose their foods. This threat of
losing small farms – and thus one’s food choice-
is feeding the current hysteria.
To read more about the bills visit
Please contact your Washington representatives to
express your support or opposition to the bills.
Let’s take a look at what’s pending:
HR 875 - The Food Safety Modernization Act,
sponsored by Rosa Delauro (D- CT) (whose husband
works for Monsanto) has 30 co-sponsors at this
time. This bill splits the FDA into two units:
one which would monitor food and the other to
monitor medicinal drugs and medical devices. (The
FDA is charged with monitoring both food and
drugs so this is only a new approach, not a new
duty.) The bill would increase the number - or
frequency - of inspections. HR 875 would require
HACCP plans. It would also require imports to
meet US standards. (Currently as long as a
foreign country has an “equivalent” inspection
system, product is accepted with little or no
further questions or testing.)  HR 875 would
establish a national traceability system that
would require tracking “the history, use, and
location of an item of food”. Section 3.13A
specifically exempts those operations currently
under USDA inspection under the FMIA or PPIA acts
and section 3.14 exempts any farm, ranch,
orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal-feeding operation.
S425 - Food Safety and Tracking Improvement Act,
sponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) has no
co-sponsors. This senate bill would amend the
Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to provide
for the establishment of a traceability system so
that each article of food shipped in interstate
commerce would require a full record keeping
system. An audit system would provide for
compliance. Premise registration would be
mandatory.  S425 amends the FMIA so that any
person that has reason to believe that any
carcass, part of a carcass, meat, or meat food
product is inappropriately transported, stored,
distributed, or otherwise mis-handled resulting
in adulteration or misbranding shall serve notice
to the secretary who shall then call on industry
to withdraw the product. The PPIA and the Egg
Product Inspection Act (EPIA) would be amended in the same fashion.
HR 814 - Tracing and Recalling Agricultural
Contamination Everywhere Act, sponsored by Diana
DeGette (D-CO) has five co-sponsors. HR 814 would
direct the Secretary of Agriculture to establish
a traceability system for all stages of
manufacturing, processing, packaging, and
distribution of food. HR 814 would amend the FMIA
by requiring identification and traceability for
all cattle, sheep, swine, goats, and horses,
mules, and other equines presented for slaughter.
Without an identification number, farm records,
and the ability to trace an animal’s movement,
such an animal can not be presented for
slaughter. The PPIA and the EPIA would be amended
to establish similar provisions for poultry and
poultry products and for eggs and egg products.
It is interesting to note that nothing contained
in HR 814 supports Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements.

HR 759- The Food And Drug Administration
Globalization Act, sponsored by John Dingell (D-
MI) with eight co-sponsors, would require every
food facility that manufactures, processes,
packs, transports, or holds food for consumption
in the United States to develop and implement a
HACCP and food safety plan. HR 759 would require
that all food facilities use standard lot numbers
and that all facilities including food
processors, farms and restaurants, keep
electronic records. Food facilities must earn an
accreditation status. This bill instructs the FDA
to establish production standards for fruits and
vegetables and to establish Good Agricultural
Practices for produce and requiring those that
grow and sell fresh fruits and vegetables to have
a HACCP plan. COOL would be required. Only
certified laboratories could conduct sampling and
testing of food to ensure compliance.

S 429 - Ending Agricultural Threats: Safeguarding
America's Food for Everyone (EAT SAFE) Act of
2009, sponsored by Senator Robert Casey (D- PA)
with only one co-sponsor, focuses on imported and
smuggled foods. This bill directs the Secretary
of Agriculture to establish food safety and
agroterrorism training programs. Notification of
recalled food products would be provided to the
public while notice of smuggled food products
would be reported to the public and to the
Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This bill
amends the FMIA and the PPIA to establish civil
penalties for failure to present imported meat
and poultry products for inspection and requires
the use of federally certified food safety labs
for product testing. A food-borne illness
education and outreach grant program would be established.
S 510 - A bill to amend the Federal Food, Drug,
and Cosmetic Act with respect to the safety of
the food supply sponsored by Senator Richard
Durbin (D-IL) has 8 co-sponsors currently. This
bill addresses the concerns of government to the
use of or exposure to certain foods. If the
Secretary of Agriculture believes that there is a
reasonable probability that the use of or
exposure to an article of food will cause serious
adverse health consequences or death to humans or
animals, each person who manufactures, processes,
packs, distributes, receives, holds, or imports
such article shall provide access to that food
article and to all records relating to such
article. HACCP and preventive controls would be
required for all manufacturers, processors,
packers, distributors, receivers, holders, or
importers. Safety standards would be established
for production and harvesting of fruits and
vegetables. All premises would be required to be
registered and pay annual inspection fees. The
Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation
with the Secretary of Health and Human Services
and the Secretary of Agriculture, would
facilitate public-private partnerships to help
unify and enhance the protection of the
agriculture and food system of the United States;
including the sharing of information and
intelligence relating to agriculture and the food
system. The three agencies would identify best
practices and methods for improving the
coordination among Federal, State, local, and
private sector preparedness and response plans
for agriculture and food defense and would
recommend methods to protect the economy and the
public health of the United States from the
effects of animal or plant disease outbreaks,
food contamination and natural disasters affecting agriculture and food.
HR 1332 - Safe FEAST Act of 2009,  sponsored by
Jim Costa (D-CA) with 19 cosponsors. This is very
similar to the senate bill S 510. All food
manufacturers, processes, packers, or those who
hold food for sale would be required to be
registered. If the Secretary determines that food
manufactured, processed, packed, or held by a
facility has a reasonable probability of causing
serious adverse health consequences or death to
humans or animals, the Secretary may suspend the
registration of the facility. In addition to
having access to records and the product, the
Secretary may direct the facility to order a
recall. In addition to HACCP plans and record
keeping requirements facilities would be required
to: follow sanitation procedures, establish
hygiene training, establish monitoring programs
for environmental pathogen controls, implement an
allergen control program, develop a recall
contingency plan; follow Good Manufacturing
Practices (GMPs); and verify source suppliers. HR
1332 would encourage the building of domestic
capacity through coordinated councils which would
in part identify potential threats to the food
supply and would establish surveillance systems through integrated networks.

This message originated from or was forwarded by:
Chrys Ostrander
Chrysalis Farm @ Tolstoy
Organic Micro-permaculture
33495 Mill Canyon Rd.
Davenport, WA 99122
[log in to unmask]

Please consider making a contribution towards my
sustainable agriculture organizing work.

"From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs"
Louis Jean Joseph Charles Blanc - "The organization of work" 1839
Karl Marx - "Critique of the Gotha Program" 1875

"The purpose of agriculture is not the production
of food, but the perfection of human beings"
Masanobu Fukuoka (February 2, 1913 - August 16,
2008)  - "One Straw Revolution" 1978

"The community whose every member possesses the
art of deriving a comfortable subsistence from
the smallest area of soil... will be alike
independent of crowned-kings, money-kings, and land-kings...."
Abraham Lincoln: Address to the Wisconsin State
Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1859

"We will never have an organic future and a
stable climate until we pull all the troops out of Iraq
and redirect our annual $650 billion military
budget to greening the economy and guaranteeing
a sustainable environment and economic justice for everyone."
Ronnie Cummins, National Director, Organic Consumers Association
at the "Farms Not Arms" public forum and protest in Manhattan, September, 2007

Thank you.

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