Posts Tagged FDA

S.510 Does NOT Protect Local, Natural Food

NATURAL SOLUTIONS FOUNDATION
Your Global Voice of Health & Food Freedom™
www.HealthFreedomPortal.org
<blockquote>Health Freedom USA is pleased to re-post this article by Ms. Hannes which was originally circulated by our friends at NAIS Stinks.com … NAIS is the National Animal Identification System which wants to “chip” all farm animals, “voluntarily” — and, for many reasons we agree with them, NAIS stinks! Both Codex and S.510 are very NAIS friendly, and thus not friendly to farmers, consumer or environment – see: www.FriendlyFoodCertification.org.</blockquote>
Why S.510 Does NOT Protect Local, Natural Food… or Freedom!
S. 510 Hits A Snag
by: Doreen Hannes Dec. 4, 2010
Reprinted with permission from www.naisstinks.com

Senate Bill S 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, passed the Senate on November 30th, 74-23. Not a single Democrat crossed party lines. This bill is the coup on food in the US. Even though the Tester Amendment was included to dupe those who think it will stop small farmers and processors from being put right out of business, it will only slow down the demise of some small farms.

Then it came to light that a Constitutional issue that had been staring all of us in the face was present. The Senate did not pick up HR2749, which passed the House in July of 2009; instead they took up their own monster in S 510. They also began revenue generation in the Senate (Section 107 of the bill), which is expressly forbidden by the Constitution.

Faced with a patently un-Constitutional bill, that violates Constitutional process, we have to remain vigilant until BOTH houses have adjourned for the winter recess prior to the next session of Congress. Talk about roller coasters.

If the Constitution means anything at all, the House should blue slip S. 510, which would preclude them from taking the bill up and very likely run out the clock for passage in this session.

However, there are four choices available for the legislation to move forward before they adjourn on December 24th. The first is for the Senate to bring it back and get unanimous consent to remove the offending section. Since Senator Coburn of Oklahoma will not consent, that avenue is cut off.

Second is for the Senate to bust S. 510 down to the original a compromise amendment, remove the funding section and the Tester amendment and try to ram it through the entire senate process again before the 24th. This seems unlikely, but do not trust them as far as you can throw a semi trailer loaded with lead.

Third, the Senate could take HR2749, which has already passed the House, and rush it through the Senate, and it would go straight to the Presidents desk with no process with the House necessary. This also seems rather unlikely. The bills are very similar and would have the same detrimental effects for everyone, but the Senators are not familiar with the bill, so it could be really tough.

Fourth, the House Ways and Means committee could pass the bill through and forgive the Constitutional infraction and refuse to blue slip the bill, then vote on it before the 24th and we would have the bill albeit there would be legal issues brought forth that could possibly ensnare the regulations they want to write under this bill. This appears to be the most likely potential for S. 510.

Make no mistake about this, SB 510, or HR 2749 are worse than the Patriot Act, the Health Care bill, and the Federal Reserve Act combined. We can all live without little pieces of paper, and many of us can live without doctors, and we have been living with the increasing police state since 911, but none of us can live without food and water. If we lose food and water, we will not be able to fight anything else.

The Tester-Hagan Amendment Lipstick on a Pig

The largest deception played on the public in S. 510 is the inclusion of the Tester Amendment. This amendment was sold as the complete exemption for all small farms grossing less than $500,000 per year. But if one reads the actual amendment, it is evident that it will not do what it is purported to do for the vast majority of small producers.

The Tester Amendment has strident restrictions on those who may be exempted from HACCP (Hazard and Critical Control Point) implementations. HACCP is 50 pages of instructions that require a certifier to sign off on the plan, and a team to be trained in ensuring the plan is followed on the farm. The requirement of this plan put about 40% of small meat processors out of business several years ago. If you fall under the protection of the Tester amendment, you will not have to do it….but let us see how protective the Tester Amendment really is.

First, the Tester Amendment purports to exempt farms with less than $500,000 in sales from the requirements of S.510. However, to be exempt one must sell more than 50% of their products directly to consumers or restaurants within a 275-mile radius from production, and keep records substantiating those sales. The records are open for inspection and verification of the exemption. In other words, you have to prove you are playing by their rules through record keeping and approval of those records, or meet the more onerous requirements of S.510.

You must apply to be included in the protections of the Tester amendment. You must substantiate through your records for three years that you fit the category of selling more than 50% of average annual monetary value within this 275-mile radius. So, if you sell on the roadside or at a farmers market, you must have a map handy and ask for ID from everyone who purchases from you or lose your exemption. Nice, huh?

Proof of Residence for Food? Really?

I can see it now….A lovely early June day, with the birds singing and the smell of freshly mown hay hanging in the air like the best memory from childhood. A young mother pulls into the Farmers Market and readies herself for a wonderful shopping experience.

She approaches the first stand with her mouth nearly watering at the bright display of fresh produce. I would like 3 cucumbers, please, says the lady with her 3 kids and cloth grocery bag.

Great! Can I see your ID? replies the guy in bibs.

Oh, I am paying with cash she replies with a smile.

No matter, says the farmer, We have to make sure you are within a 275 mile radius of our farm in order to sell to you.

She looks perplexed and says, Well, we are not. We are on our way to visit my parents and I wanted to make a special dinner for all of us, using their locally produced foods so they could remember how good home grown veggies are….So I can not buy from you without an ID?

The farmer scratches his head and says, Now see, I have to be very careful. I belong to a CSA that sells to a Chipotle that is 276 miles from us, so all of my sales at market have to be local or I lose my exemption and will have to hire 5 people to take care of the paper work and then I just go out of business. So no, I can not sell to you. What is more, all the vendors here are part of the CSA, so no one here can sell to you. You have a nice day now!

No Surprises-It is Locally — Global

What we have in Tester is local Agenda 21 Sustainable Development. In sum, control over all human impact on the environment. Everything will need to be within the food shed, and if you are outside of the food shed, too bad for you. It is a great way to surveille and monitor food production and distribution. And you still fall under the broad based reason to believe of the Secretary with the Tester amendment. If the Secretary, meaning the head of the FDA or HHS thinks you may have a problem, or deems what you produce to be high risk, you will be shut down until they say you can begin again. All of your product is subject to mandatory recall; that is why you have to keep records of everyone you sell to. And you will have to register as a facility under the Bioterrorism Act of 2002, referred to as Sec 415 throughout the bill. (Knock knock—this is premises identification as in NAIS)

So please, do not tell me how great the Tester Amendment is, and that the expansive powers being granted to the DoD, DHS, HHS, FDA and USDA in this bill will be helpful to small farmers and local food production and make my food safe. Wake up and smell the coffee!!! Oh, wait. The only state that could produce coffee within 275 miles of itself, is Hawaii. Never mind. Wake up, and smell the tyranny, please.

(The best thing to do right now is to call the members of the House Ways and Means Committee as well as your own Representative and tell them they MUST blue slip S. 510. While I know it gets frustrating to call the Congress critters, the more they know that we know, the better the chance at slowing down the destruction they have planned for us. The switchboard number for Congress is 202-224-3121.)

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Democrat’s Secret Attack on Agriculture with Food Safety Bill

Democrat’s Secret Attack on Agriculture with Food Safety Bill

Monday, 22 November 2010 12:42 Chuck Justice

The Left is notorious for their friendly-sounding nomenclature of bills.  The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was the phony stimulus bill; the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is Obamacare; Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is Wall Street regulation.  Each of these monstrosities have the same thing in common: they do the exact opposite as they’re advertised.  And that’s why S-510, the Food Safety Modernization Act needs to be stopped from turning into law.  It goes to the Senate floor for a vote the day after Thanksgiving.

This is not the Democratic party that everyone grew up with – it’s been hijacked by some of the most radical, anti-American individuals.  Make no mistake, S-510 is no difference than Obamacare.  If this passes the Senate, the House has already said they’ll pass it in its current form so it can be sent to the president.  Liberals still control the House in this lame duck session, so it’s highly likely that they’ll bundle it up with H.R. 4729, the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, which the House passed and is outline below.  If passed, the government will now not only control your health care, but everything you eat.

To sum up S-510, or the food bill for short, it gives the FDA authority and power for additional enforcement, including fines, penalties, license revocations and new requirements, and control over processes and harvest.  All of this will add additional cost, which will just get passed on to the consumer, but that’s not even the worst aspect of the bill.  Here are some of the troubling elements:

  • Puts all US food and all US farms under Homeland Security and the Department of Defense in the event of contamination or an ill-defined emergency.
  • Would end US sovereignty over its own food supply by insisting on compliance with the WTO, thus threatening national security.
  • Would allow the government, under Maritime Law, to define the introduction of any food into commerce (even direct sales between individuals) as smuggling into the US.
  • Imposes Codex Alimentarius on the US, a global system of control over food.
  • Would remove the right to clean, store and thus own seed in the US, putting control of seeds in the hands of Monsanto and other multinationals, threatening US security.
  • Includes NAIS, an animal traceability program that threatens all small farmers and ranchers raising animals.
  • Would allow the government to mandate antibiotics, hormones, slaughterhouse waste, pesticides and GMOs.
  • Uses good crimes as the entry into state power and control.

So, how do you think that’s going to impact the agriculture industry?  Well, it only gets better if the House bundles it together with HR 2749.  Here are the hidden details of it:

  • $500 annual registration fee on any “facility” that holds, process or manufactures food – “farms” are exempt.
  • Empower the FDA to regulate how crops are raised and harvested – this would eliminate organic farming and lead to the forced purchase of products as mandated by the government.
  • FDA would be granted the power to order a quarantine of a geographic area, which includes “prohibiting or restricting the movement of food or any vehicle being used or that has been used to transport or hold such food within the geographic area.”
  • FDA has the power to make random and warrantless searches of the business records of small farmers and local food producers without evidence that there’s even been a violation.
  • Creates severe criminal and civil penalties for each violation

The ambiguity is intentional.  For example, the power to quarantine a geographic area, including the transportation of food, extends well beyond food safety.  Think about people that go grocery shopping – easily 90% of Americans – they transport food; it has to get home somehow.  Notice how individuals and consumers aren’t exempt.  That’s because liberals want to control an individuals every move because they feel the individual is incapable of making their own decisions.

There is a common trend with the radical liberals in Congress:  all bills need to be passed so the country can see what’s in it.  Nobody knows who wrote the bill; Congressmen don’t even know what’s in it because special interest groups write the bills on their behalf; can we say shadow government?  Or even better, can we say spooky George Soros and his plethora of organizations hell-bent on destroying America.

This food bill needs to be stopped.  A government that has this much control also has the power to take everything away.  Between Obamacare controlling your health care and the food safety bill putting control in the hands of the fourth branch of government – the unelected administrative branch – America is going down a very dangerous path.  Unfortunately, this is what the liberals want.

Chuck Justice is the editor-in-chief for Habledash.

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Food Safety Bill – S. 510 will kill family farms

S. 510 will make your food more expensive and less safe. It will drive many small farms out of business. The leaders of the “lame duck” Congress want to pass this falsely named “food safety” bill NEXT WEEK, but . . . They’ll need 60 votes to break Sen. Coburn’s “hold” on the bill. That means we can defeat S.510 with just 40 votes, but we must apply the pressure now! Please send a letter right now telling your Senators to oppose S. 510. You may borrow from or copy this letter . . . S.510 will crush family farms and small businesses with excessive regulations – even though they were NOT the source of recent food safety problems. S.510 also violates the Fourth Amendment by allowing the FDA to invade and search farms and food producers without court permission. If you think the FDA will use this new power responsibly, think again. David Gumpert reports that the FDA shut down two raw-milk cheese-makers for the presence of the pathogen listeria, even though . . . http://tinyurl.com/2e5x2sq * Nobody got sick * The FDA almost never shuts down companies for the mere presence of pathogens – even when people DO get sick * Companies have previously been allowed to clean things up, rather than shut down. If the FDA is starting to behave like this now, just imagine how abusive it will be under S.510? Finally, it must be stressed that big agribusiness has been the source of most recent food safety problems. S.510 will make this problem worse by burdening small producers, and driving them out of business. This will make our food supply more centralized, less diverse, and more dangerous. Please STOP S.510. This Congress must NOT pass any food safety bill. Remember, the voters have repudiated this Congress, and it’s heavy handed ways. END LETTER You can send your letter through DownsizeDC’s Educate the Powerful System. Remember, Congress DOES read your letters. They DO have an impact. The more letters they receive, the more we’re likely to succeed. So please forward this, share on your social networks, and retweet this message: http://twitter.com/#!/DDCDispatch And thank you for being a DC Downsizer! James Wilson Assistant Communications Director DownsizeDC.org D o w n s i z e r – D i s p a t c h Official email newsletter of DownsizeDC.org, Inc. & Downsize DC Foundation. SUPPORT the “Educate the Powerful System”. Feel Free to Forward or Reprint, as long as attribution and action links are retained/included. But we recommend you delete everything in this footer, i.e., below the words “Downsizer-Dispatch”.

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FDA Raids Amish Farmer Dan Allgyer

FDA Raids Amish Farmer Dan Allgyer
Please take action (see ACTION at end of notice)

Kinzers, PA-At 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday April 20, Amish farmer Dan Allgyer went outside to begin milking his small herd of dairy cows.  On the normally quiet Kinzer Road in front of his farm, just a few miles from the Nickel Mines Amish massacre of 2006, several unfamiliar vehicles drove slowly past.  Two months prior, on February 4, FDA agents had trespassed on Allgyer’s farm, claiming to be conducting an “investigation.”  Allgyer had suspected they would be back at some point, because many other small dairy farms around the country have been similarly treated by the FDA. Following is Dan’s account of Tuesday morning’s events:

I became aware of the cars as soon as I walked out on the sidewalk as part of my morning routine around 4:30 a.m. and immediately said to myself something is going on, there is too much traffic on Kinzer Road.  I was watching and noticed three cars were cruising down Kinzer Road right behind each other, and immediately thought, hey, that looks like trouble. I watched and pretty soon one car came back and parked on my neighbor’s farm, on private property, just as the FDA agents had when they came on my property in February; it was exactly the same place.

A couple minutes later, the other two cars pulled up and joined the first on my neighbor’s property, where the occupants appeared to be in conference with one another. Shortly after that, they turned their headlights on and drove in my lane – this would have been at about 5:00.

I stood back in the dark barn to see what they were going to do. They drove past my two Private Property signs, up to where my coolers were, with their headlights shining right on them. They all got out of their vehicles – five men all together – with big bright flashlights they were shining all around. My wife and family were still asleep. When they couldn’t find anybody, they prepared to knock on the door of my darkened house. Just before they got to the house I stepped out of the barn and hollered at them, then they came up to me and introduced themselves. Two were from the FDA, agent Joshua C. Schafer who had been there in February and another. They showed me identification, but I was too flustered to ask for their cards. I remember being told that two were deputy U.S. Marshals and one a state trooper. They started asking me questions right away.  They handed me a paper and I didn’t realize what it was. Agent Joshua C. Schafer told me they were there to do a “routine inspection.” At 5:00 in the morning, I wondered to myself? “Do you have a warrant?” I asked, and one of them, a marshal or the state policeman, said, “You’ve got in your hand buddy.” I asked, “What is the warrant about?” Schafer responded, “We have credible evidence that you are involved in interstate commerce.”

They wanted me to answer some questions, my name, middle initial, last name, wanted to know how many cows we have on the farm. I answered those questions and some more. Finally, I got over my initial shock and said I would not be answering any more questions. They said O.K., we’ll get on with the “inspection.”

I went to go talk to my wife. As I walked away, they held a quick excited conversation and I heard one of them say, “I’ll take care of him.” At that point, apparently, they had designated one of the marshals to stick close to me and dog my footsteps. He followed me as I walked toward the house. I went in the house quickly and told my wife a few words to let her know the situation, then immediately came back out of the house before the marshal had time to follow me in. When I came back out, they were inspecting all the coolers sitting out. They spent about a half hour digging through the packed coolers filled with milk and other food – all private property – taking pictures.

At one point during the cooler inspection the state trooper said to me, “You have a nice farm.” I responded, “We’re trying to be sustainable, but they don’t want to let us.”

While they inspected the coolers, I read the warrant. Among other things it said that any search was to be conducted “at reasonable times during ordinary business hours.” When I exclaimed, “Ordinary business hours!” and pointed this out to the marshal who was dogging me, he said, “Ordinary business hours for agriculture start at 5:00 a.m.” I challenged him that the warrant does not say agriculture hours, it said ordinary hours. He replied, “That’s what the government told us.”

Then they started looking around, as though in search of something in particular. They went up to one door that had a clear No Trespassing sign on it, specifically including government agents, and they did not go in the room, though they shone their flashlights around in it. Then they asked me, “What is on the other side of the door in that [same] room?” Agent Joshua Schafer asked this. I looked him in the eye and did not answer. When they saw I was not going to answer, the other FDA agent said, “Okay, come on,” to agent Schafer, and they went into the room and through the closed door on the opposite side. I had another one of those signs on my walk-in cooler adjacent to my freezer, so they went through that door also. They spent probably another half hour rooting around, like a couple of pigs, in the freezer and cooler area and took many pictures.

When they came out, they asked me where I keep my containers and jugs for milk, and I refused to tell them. I figured they could look for themselves. Then they were walking all over the farm, checking everything out, everything except the house. Agent Joshua Schafer even opened my dumpster and inspected inside it, as though he thought I was hiding something in it. At that point I went and started milking my cows – it was way past milking time.

When I was just about done milking, Schafer and the other agent came in the barn and wanted me to answer some more questions. I told them I would not. The second agent said, “Are you gong to deliver those coolers to Bethesda and Bowie Maryland?” I just looked at him. Then Schafer made a gesture and said, “The stickers with those towns names are on the coolers,” as through to say, you might as well tell me.

I replied, “I told you I won’t answer any questions.” After that they said, “We are done for today. You’ll be hearing back from headquarters.”

Then they got in their car and left. The state trooper and the marshals had left already.

They came in the dark, shining bright flashlights while my family was asleep, keeping me from milking my cows, from my family, from breakfast with my family and from our morning devotions, and alarming my children enough so that they first question they asked my wife was, “Is Daddy going to jail?”

THE NEXT MORNING Allgyer received an overnight, extremely urgent Letter of Warning from the FDA stating that “Failure to make prompt corrections could result in regulatory action without further notice. Possible actions include seizure and/or injunction.”

ACTION: Please call and write the number and address below. Express yourself. Tell them that you support Dan Allgyer. If you drink fresh, unpastuerized milk tell them that. Tell them that more people every day are drinking fresh milk and this is going to increase. It’s not going to stop no matter how many farmers they persecute. Tell them the government has no place between individuals and the farmers from whom they get their food.

Philadelphia District Office
Serves Delaware and Pennsylvania.
Food and Drug Administration
U.S. Customhouse
Second and Chestnut Streets, Room 900
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 597-4390 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. (Eastern time)

Yours for real food freedom,
Deborah Stockton, Executive Director
National Independent Consumers and Farmers Association (NICFA)
nicfa@earthlink.net
http://www.nicfa.com

Our purpose is to promote and preserve unregulated direct farmer-to-consumer trade
that fosters availability of locally grown or home-produced food products.
NICFA opposes any government funded or managed National Animal Identification System.

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Libertarian Farmers Lobby Against S. 510

by Helena Bottemiller | Mar 13, 2010

It is not every day you find Amish farmers serving raw milk in the U.S. Senate. But this week a group of libertarian, small, sustainable, organic farmers were serving up the unpasteurized milk–which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deems dangerous–to Senate staff and local food advocates as part of an effort to push back against pending federal food safety regulations.

Raw Jersey Cow Milk from Amish Farms, Pennsylvania being served in the Dirksen Senate office building.

Raw Jersey Cow Milk from Amish Farms, Pennsylvania being served in the Dirksen Senate office building.

The National Independent Consumers and Farmers Association (NICFA), whose mission is to “promote and preserve unregulated direct farmer-to-consumer trade,” organized a lobby day Wednesday to rally opposition to the Senate FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510), a bill that would increase FDA inspections of food facilities and give the agency mandatory recall authority.

It is unclear exactly how or where NICFA fits into the lobbying scene. Most food policy experts inside the beltway know very little about the organization, and many characterize NICFA as a fringe group. The National Sustainable Agriculture Association (NSAC), an active force for sustainable agriculture in DC, doesn’t work with NICFA.

“We’re not working with them on anything, including food safety,” NSAC spokeswoman Aimee Witteman told Food Safety News in an email. “I don’t know much about them other than their opposition to National Animal ID. My sense is that they’re fundamentally opposed to any new food safety legislation–aren’t interested in trying to improve the food safety regime while also making it more targeted on the riskiest practices.”

It is also unclear how any members NICFA has or who exactly funds the organization. Many food policy insiders suspect the Weston A. Price foundation, a non-profit proponent of raw milk and whole foods, gives the group financial support. A spokesperson for NICFA said the group is funded exclusively through private donations but declined to provide any details.

Curious as NICFA may be, their reception on Wednesday had some libertarian star power. Former presidential candidate and small government hero Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) kicked off the reception with his usual stump speech and Joel Salatin, a farmer-turned-celebrity, for his appearance in best-selling Omnivore’s Dilemma and Oscar-nominated Food, Inc., emceed the event.

Joel Salatin, of Polyface Farms (seated), and Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX). Photos by Helena Bottemiller.

Salatin, a self-described “Christian-libertarian-environmentalist-lunatic farmer,” fired off a number of clever sound bites to his audience, which appeared to be mostly NICFA members.

“When the government gets between my lips and my food, I call that invasion of privacy,” said Salatin. “By what science is feeding your kids Twinkies, Ho-ho cakes, and Mountain Dew safe–but raw milk, homemade pickles, and compost-grown tomatoes are dangerous?”

“Our nation has the lowest per capita food expenditure, but the highest per capita health care expenditure of any developed nation,” he said. “Welcome to safe, deadly food.”

Though the event piqued the curiosity of many food policy wonks, no one seems concerned NICFA’s efforts could derail S. 510, a bill that enjoys broad, bipartisan support, but has yet to be scheduled for a vote.

David Gumpert, a health blogger and author of The Raw Milk Revolution who also spoke at the reception, indicated on his blog this week that the response to NICFA’s message was hard to gauge.

“My meetings with congressional aides were pleasant, but difficult to assess,” wrote Gumpert. “This seemed a fairly common reaction among other citizen lobbyists. Maybe the most encouraging thing about the aides I met was that they seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say.”

“Most discouraging was that the aides seemed not to know very much about key problems in the food safety legislation–the absence of significant exemptions for the smallest food producers and farms, the huge financial burden imposed by the requirement for HACCP (hazard analysis critical control point) plans, and the imposition of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) standards on farmers,” he added.

Consumer and public health advocates have been insisting for months that though they are open to “scale-appropriate” food safety regulations, no food grower or processor should be exempt from the food safety system.

“We do have issues with anything that provides any blanket exemptions,” Sandra Eskin, director of the food safety campaign with The Pew Charitable Trusts, recently told Food Safety News. Pew is a key member of the Make Our Food Safe coalition (MOFS), a broad coalition of consumer, public health, and industry groups pushing for the passage of S. 510.

“Food should be safe regardless of its source — big processor, small farm, conventional operation or organic grower,” said Eskin.

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Easter Bunny Reports: “NAIS IS DEAD!”

NEWS WITH VIEWS.COM - Where Reality Shatters Illusion

Doreen HannesBy Doreen Hannes
February 18, 2010
NewsWithViews.com

As I reported after returning from the NIAA (National Institute for Animal Agriculture) meeting last August, rumors of the death of NAIS have been greatly exaggerated. (Read) The USDA has finally admitted that they have too much negative publicity surrounding the name NAIS, and that they actually have to do what they tried to do in the first place: get the states to do their bidding on ‘animal identification’ and ‘traceability’ according to World Trade Organization standards. So yippee. They are only going to exercise their rule-making authority to control interstate commerce. Well, that’s all they had the authority to do at the outset. So we should be giddy with excitement that they are openly proclaiming they will do just that now.

Should we be happier than a pig in a puddle because they openly stated that they will leave animals which never exit the state out of the new plan? They never had the authority to deal with those animals anyway…unless, of course, you take money from the USDA. Otherwise, that authority rests with your state. The USDA will continue to fund the states and work in a ‘collaborative’ way with states and industry (continuing the Public Private Partnership otherwise known as fascism) to develop the “minimum standards” that must be followed in order to participate in interstate commerce.

So, as many conversations with my compatriots in the fight against NAIS have alluded to, at last the USDA is pulling the commerce clause out and holding it up as their hammer for “minimum standards” that will be required by forthcoming regulations for ‘disease traceability’. And why has the USDA taken to calling it ‘disease traceability’ instead of ‘animal identification’? Because they only HAVE authority over the diseases! The FDA has authority over live animals on the farm, even though the majority of people don’t know this, and it is a very useful poker chip in the globalization game. It is called misdirection, and those of us who have been deeply involved in the fight against the NAIS are very aware of this agency’s use of misinformation, disinformation, subterfuge and general sneakiness in foisting upon us their WTO driven desire that will create captive supply for export of the entire domestic livestock population.

The only official document available on the “NAIS not NAIS” program is a seven page Q and A available at the new page for “NAIS not NAIS” called Animal Disease Traceability. It’s only 7 pages, so if you have read the previous 1200 pages of USDA documents on this program, it’s a walk in the park.

One of the first questions that one asks when told “NAIS is Dead!”, (aside from “what’s it’s new name?”) is “What about all the people who are in the Premises Database with PIN’s already?” According to the 7-page document, they stay in that database.

How about animals that are already identified with the “840” tags for NAIS? They also stay in the database. What about the “840” tags themselves? Well, the USDA and States will keep using them.

Are they going to halt further registrations into the NAIS database? Heck no! They’ll keep registering properties and will also be using a ‘unique location identifier’ for this kinder, gentler NAIS that the States will run for us.

Why are they re-using the first two prongs of NAIS? Aside from the unstated fact that they are using them because they have to use them to be compliant with OIE (World Animal Health Organization) guidelines, they say it’s because of the tremendous amount of money spent developing NAIS already even though it is un-Constitutional.

How much money? It’s government math, so it’s likely done by consensus as opposed to literal whole numbers that add up- you know, like 2+2=4. Consensus would make it possible for 2+2 to equal 5. Anyway, figures cited by various officials are anywhere from $120 million to $180 million. Less than 60¢ per person, so almost nothing when compared to the monstrous 107 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities we are currently carrying. Believe me, when I say I am not for government waste at all, but when an agency has spent this much time and money on an unfruitful program, isn’t it better to simply fully knock it in the head instead of changing the name and playing “Hide and Go Seek” with the people who have adamantly opposed this program? Why couldn’t the USDA do the only truly Constitutional thing with this international-trade driven program and let those who want to deal in international markets do this to themselves through the Export Verification Services department of the USDA? Well, if they did that, not only would they have to actually be fully open and transparent, they would need to let the public in on the big secret that the United States is no longer in charge of its own policies, rather they are obligated to follow the Sanitary PhytoSanitary (SPS) directives of the World Trade Organization agencies, namely Codex Ailimentarius, the OIE and the IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention).

And we still have the very real issue of the massive database for premises registration (or the unique location allocator) having no public or verifiable oversight to check whether or not people who have been told they were removed were in fact removed from that database. So if NAIS is dead, why not allow the database to be annihilated? Obviously, they are still following the plan.

What about the states that have passed legislation designed to constrain NAIS from becoming mandatory within their boundaries? How will this new disease traceability program affect them? Well, since this is NOT NAIS and the regulations aren’t yet written, the states will have to wait to find out what requirements they MUST MEET in order to participate in interstate commerce. There’s your hammer.

So how powerful is the interstate commerce clause? Pretty dang powerful. And if people who dealt in the local food movement fully understood Wickard vs. Filburn, they would feel no consolation whatsoever from the USDA’s statement that they are not interested in regulating livestock that stay within the state.

In a nutshell, this 1942 Supreme Court case found that since Filburn had accepted money as part of the Agricultural Adjustments Act and then grew wheat to feed his own livestock, that he was not only subject to the regulation of the USDA by accepting that money, but also, since he grew wheat, he hadn’t purchased it, and had he not grown it, he would have had to purchase wheat which would have likely come through interstate commerce. Therefore, his planting of wheat affected interstate commerce and solidified the USDA’s jurisdiction over his actions.

If you transplant “tomato” for wheat you can see how sinister this ruling truly is. If you grow tomatoes, you won’t be buying them, so if you don’t buy them, and since the store bought tomatoes likely cross state lines in their movement, you are affecting interstate commerce by growing tomatoes….This is precedent, and it is a very, very dangerous precedent. So taking money or help from the USDA to establish your local farmer’s market is going to put you into a relationship that is highly precarious for freedom.

The interstate commerce clause was not designed to hammer states into submission to federal or international agency trade objectives, it was to stop states from unfairly discriminating against each other and to enable us to be a strong union of sovereign states that could actually feed itself and prosper. The only thing to do is to keep fighting with full knowledge and to get the States to exercise their duty to protect the Citizens from an overarching Federal government. We need states to completely free up direct trade between farmers and consumers and we need states to work together to create their own criteria for exchange of goods across state lines.

Do we have to ‘stay engaged’ in conversations with the USDA on this “New Not NAIS”? Yes, to keep telling them to go sell crazy somewhere else, we’re all stocked up here, thank you. They should tend the borders, control and actually inspect the imports, run the disease programs that worked and were not massive consolidations of power in federal hands, and for cryin’ out loud INSPECT the packing plants and stop trying to make consumers believe that farmers and ranchers are responsible for sloppy slaughtering!

Also, go ahead and leave a bunch of the milk chocolate rabbits for us. Chocolate is one thing we probably should import, but certainly not at the cost of our freedom and sovereignty.

© 2010 Doreen Hannes – All Rights Reserved

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Maria Minno: This bill is a threat to small farms

HR 2749, the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, includes a number of alarming provisions:

Going Out of BusinessFirst, HR2749 would give FDA the power to order a quarantine of a geographic area, including “prohibiting or restricting the movement of food or of any vehicle being used or that has been used to transport or hold such food within the geographic area.” This undermines food security, because under this provision, our safest sources of food, farmers markets and local food sources, could be shut down arbitrarily, even if they are not the source of the contamination. The agency can halt all movement of all food in a geographic area. This is too much power for a governmental agency!

Second, this act authorizes warrantless searches. The FDA, which has proven itself to be highly biased against local farmers and any competition to industrial food producers, to make random warrantless searches of the business records of small farmers and local food producers, without any evidence whatsoever that there has been a violation. Even farmers selling direct to consumers would have to provide the federal government with records on where they buy supplies, how they raise their crops, and a list of customers. This is too much power for an irresponsible government agency such as the FDA.

Third, what this act refers to as “traceability” is actually most likely to be a huge threat to small sustainable farms. The Secretary of Health and Human Services would be charged with establishing a tracing system for food. Each “person who produces, manufactures, processes, packs, transports, or holds such food” would have to “maintain the full pedigree of the origin and previous distribution history of the food,” and “establish and maintain a system for tracing the food that is interoperable with the systems established and maintained by other such persons.” Whether or not this is NAIS or something even more extensive, the bill does not explain how far the traceback will extend or how it will be done for multi-ingredient foods. With all these ambiguities, it’s far from clear how much it will cost either the farmers or the taxpayers.

Fourth, this act will impose severe criminal and civil penalties, including prison terms of up to 10 years and/or fines of up to a total of $100,000 for individuals.

Fifth, HR 2749 would impose an annual registration fee of $500 on any “facility” that holds, processes, or manufactures food. Although “farms” are exempt, the agency has defined “farm” narrowly. And people making foods such as lacto-fermented vegetables, cheeses, or breads would be required to register and pay the fee, which could drive beginning and small producers out of business during difficult economic times.

Sixth, HR 2749 would empower FDA to regulate how crops are raised and harvested. It puts the federal government right on the farm, dictating to our farmers. Heaven help us if this happens!

Maria Minno

Gainesville

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