Skip to comments.More Freedom Attack, Food Safety Act
Posted on 03/10/2009 9:31:17 AM PDT by fightinbluhen51
HR 875 - The Federal Take-Over of Food Regulation
On February 4, 2009 Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (HR 875), a bill that would establish the Food Safety Administration (FSA) within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). HR 875 represents a tremendous expansion of federal power, particularly the power to regulate intrastate commerce. While the proposed legislation tries to address the many problems of the industrial food system, the impact on small farms if the bill becomes law would be substantial and not for the better. HR 875 is a major threat to sustainable farming and the local food movement. [Click here for the text: PDF or MS Word or HTML]
The bill would transfer the functions and resources of several divisions within the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), such as the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) and the Center for Veterinary Medicine into FSA. The National Marine Fisheries Service in the Department of Commerce would be transferred over to FSA as well. [Section 102(b)]
Under HR 875 the FSA, among other responsibilities, is charged to regulate food safety and labeling [Section 2(1)(A)] and to lead an integrated, system-wide approach to food safety and to make more effective and efficient use of resources to prevent foodborne illness [Section 2(1)(C)]. Other purposes of the Act are to modernize and strengthen federal food safety law and to establish that food establishments have responsibility to ensure that all stages of production, processing, and distribution of their products or products under their control satisfy the requirements of federal food safety law[Section 2(3),(4)]. Under the bill, farms are designated as food production facilities [Section 3(14)]. Farms are also subject to all laws in the Act applying to food establishments except that they do not have to register with the FSA as most other food establishments are required to do [Section 3(13)(b)]. A food establishment, according to the bill, means a slaughterhouse (except those regulated under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act), factory, warehouse, or facility owned or operated by a person located in any State that processes food or a facility that holds, stores, or transports food or food ingredients [Section 3(13)(A)].
HR 875 charges the administrator of FSA with developing a national food safety program to protect the public health [Section 201(a)(1)]. In carrying out the program, the administrator must adopt and implement a national system for regular unannounced inspection of food establishments [Section 201(c)(2)]. With respect to food production facilities (farms), FSA is given the power by the bill to visit and inspect them to determine that they are operating in compliance with the food safety law [Section 206(a)(1)]under HR 875 food safety law refers to provisions of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act, provisions of the Public Health Services Act, and the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 itself [Section 3(15)]. In addition, the agency would have the power to have access to and copy all records maintained by farms in order to be able to (1) determine whether the food is contaminated, adulterated or otherwise not in compliance with the food safety law or (2) track the food in commerce [Sections 206(b)]. Under Section 210 of the bill which is entitled Traceback Requirements, FSA is charged with establishing a national traceability system that requires farmers to keep records that enable FSA to track the history, use, and location of an item of food [Section 210(c)]. Farmers selling direct to consumers would have to make their customer list available to federal inspectors. The bill orders FSA to be consistent with existing statutes and regulations that require recordkeeping or labeling for identifying the origin or history of food or food animals. Interestingly, the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is mentioned as some of the existing laws that the administrator should review even though there actually is no federal statute or regulation in place that mandates any part of NAIS [Section 210(d)(1)]. HR 875 cites NAIS as being authorized by the Animal Health Protection Act (AHPA) even though there is no mention of it anywhere in the AHPA [Section 210(d)(2)].
The food traceability records are not the only written documentation farmers are to supply FSA under the terms of the bill. HR 875 mandates that FSA issue regulations that require each food production facility to have a written food safety plan that describes the likely hazards and preventive controls implemented to address those hazards [Section 206(c)(2)]. If such a regulation does in fact call for a HACCP plan (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, Hass-sepp), farmers will be required to do the following in developing a plan for their farming operation:
1. Conduct a hazard analysis (e.g., list the pathogens that could be present in the farming operation); 2. Determine the critical control points (e.g., identify points in the operation where pathogens would most likely be present or could be introduced); 3. Establish critical limits; 4. Establish monitoring procedures; 5. Establish corrective actions; 6. Establish verification procedures; and 7. Establish record-keeping and documentation procedures.
FSAs rulemaking authority includes extensive power to regulate farming practices as well. HR 875 requires the agency to issue regulations that establish minimum standards related to fertilizer use, nutrients, hygiene, packaging, temperature controls, animal encroachment, and water with respect to growing, harvesting, sorting, and storage operations [Section 206(c)(3)]; and, with respect to animals raised for food, the regulations are to establish minimum standards related to the animals health, feed, and environment which bear on the safety of food for human consumption [Section 206(c)(4)].
All the requirements outlined above apply even if the farm is engaged in only intrastate commerce. Under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act (FFDCA), FDA could only inspect farms that produce food for introduction into interstate commerce [21 USC 374]. Under HR 875, no nexus to interstate commerce is needed for a farm to be within FSAs jurisdiction. The increased federal inspection power will have an impact particularly on those facilities slaughtering meat and poultry that are currently subject to minimal or no regulation by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
HR 875 designates any facility slaughtering animals not subject to inspection under either the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act as a Category 1 food establishment [Section 3(5)there are five categories of food establishments designated by the bill]. Such facilities are to be inspected on a daily basis and shall be subject to antemortem, postmortem, and continuous inspection of each slaughter line during all operating hours [Section 205(b)(1)]. Custom slaughterhouses and those farms processing poultry, officially and unofficially, under the federal exemption granted by Public Law 90-492 would now not be able to slaughter unless an FSA inspector is present. A common complaint among those using USDA-certified slaughterhouses is that there are not enough inspectors available to be present to oversee slaughtering in facilities under federal jurisdiction.
The federal governments expanded power to regulate commerce under the bill would place the legality of the sale or other distribution of raw milk in intrastate commerce in jeopardy. FDA has long wanted a complete ban on the sale of raw milk. The agencys mantra is that raw milk should not be consumed by anyone at any time for any reason. The agency does not consider this subject to be debatable and refuses to send representatives to any conference concerning the safety of raw milk when they know anyone with an opposing viewpoint will be present. At the 2005 National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS), FDA supported a resolution calling for all States to prohibit the intrastate sale of raw milk. Under HR 875, FSA is given the statutory authority to unilaterally impose a ban.
Under HR 875, FSA has the power to adopt preventative process controls to reduce adulteration of food [Section 203]. Under Section 203, FSA is to issue regulations that limit the presence and growth of contaminants in food prepared in a food establishment using the best reasonably available techniques and technologies [Section 203(b)(1)(D)]. FDA has long made it clear that in its opinion the best available technology to limit contamination in milk is pasteurization.
In the event FSA does not issue a regulation establishing a ban, raw milk producers can expect regular, unannounced visits from inspectors. Under HR 875, farms processing raw milk are designated as Category 2 food establishments [Section 3(6)]. Category 2 food establishments are to be randomly inspected at least weekly [Section 205(b)(2)(B)]those farms producing eggs not subject to the Federal Egg Products Inspection Act have also been designated Category 2 food establishments (at this time, many of these farms are subject to neither state nor federal regulation). The inspector paying a visit to the raw milk producer will have had training based on a curriculum developed by the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) [Section 305(b)]. AFDOs position on raw milk is that all milk should be pasteurized.
FSAs power to enforce the food safety law is considerable. The administrator can assess civil penalties of up to one million dollars for each violation [Section 405(a)(1)(A)]. Each day during which the violation continues is considered a separate offense [Section 405(a)(1)(B)]. The criminal sanctions are severe as well. If a violation with respect to an adulterated or misbranded food results in serious illness, the perpetrator can be imprisoned for up to five years [Section 401(b)(1)]; if the same results in death, the penalty can be up to ten years [Section 401(b)(2)]. In addition, the FSA has expanded authority to seize, detain and condemn food [Section 402(A)(1) & (C)(1)] . Under the FFDCA, FDA could only execute these powers pursuant to a court order [21 USC 334(a)].
There is every incentive for FSA to levy fines under the bill. HR 875 provides that fines collected by the agency shall be deposited in an account in the treasury [Section 405(e)(1)]. FSA may use the funds in the account without further appropriation or fiscal year limitation . . . to carry out enforcement activities under the food safety law [Section 405(e)(2)(A)]. The agency may also use the funds in the account to provide assistance to States to inspect retail commercial food establishments or other food or firms under the jurisdiction of State food safety programs [Section 405(e)(2)(B)]; this would give the States reason to support the bill despite the fact that it dilutes much of what is left of the their Tenth Amendment police power to regulate food.
A violation that could prove to be a substantial source of fines collected by the agency would be the manufacture, introduction, delivery for introduction, or receipt in interstate commerce of any food that is adulterated [Section 401(1)]. HR 875 has expanded the definition of adulteration in the FFDCA to include bearing or containing a contaminant that causes illness or death among sensitive populations [Section 3(3)(b)]. Contaminant is defined in the bill as a bacterium, chemical, natural toxin or manufactured toxicant, virus, parasite, prion, physical hazard, or other human pathogen that when found on or in food can cause human illness, injury or death [Section 3(10)]. What this means is that with this new definition of adulterated food, FSA will be lowering tolerance levels for contaminants that can be safely and lawfully present in food [Section 204(c)(1)(A)]. Many foods that would not be considered adulterated under current standards would be found to be adulterated under the definition contained in HR 875.
In New York State raw milk producers have been fined for food adulteration when milk samples tested positive for pathogens even though, in most cases if not all, there was no record of anyone becoming sick from the suspect milk. If the bill is passed into law, this experience will be repeated on a national basis.
Those selling strictly in intrastate commerce can still be potentially liable for food adulteration charges or for any other prohibited act in HR 875 relating to interstate commerce. The bill provides that in any action to enforce the requirements of the food safety law, the connection with interstate commerce required for jurisdiction shall be presumed to exist [Section 406]. In other words, the farmer will have the burden of proof in establishing that no sales were made in interstate commerce. What type of evidence would the farmer have to provide to show that none of the product sold ever crossed state lines? There are a number of prohibited acts contained in the bill that do not require the farmer to be doing business in interstate commerce for a violation to occur (e.g., refusing to allow inspection, refusing access to inspect or copy a record, failing to maintain a required record, etc.[Section 401(4)-(6)]).
Passage of HR 875 into law will result in a much greater degree of federal control of food production and food regulation in the individual States as well as on a national level. The Feds would control to a much greater degree the inputs farmers can use [Section 206(c)(3) & (4)] as well as the products farmers can produce (raw milk). Unannounced federal inspections of small farms will be the order of the day, reducing the level of protection provided by the Fourth Amendment. There will be little left of the States police power to regulate food. HR 875 calls for the integration of the inspection and compliance programs in food processing establishments of the FSA, state and local agencies [Section 207(e)(3)(E)]. The federal government will be dictating the standards used in these programs to the States.
The burdensome requirements the bill imposes on small farms and the intrusive federal control it creates over small farm operations threaten the future viability of sustainable agriculture and the local food movement. HR 875 has been assigned to both the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Committee on Agriculture. It needs to be stopped. Anyone who values freedom of food choice and the rights and independence of small farmers should contact their elected representatives and the members of the two committees to ask that they oppose HR 875. Updates on the status of this bill will be provided on this site.
This is unbelievable. Yet another way to get the people on the government dole and subject to corporate corruption.
More can be found here too.
This bill is sitting in committee and I am not sure when it is going to hit the floor. One thing I do know is that very few of the Representatives have read it. As usual they will vote on this based on what someone else is saying. Urge your members to read the legislation and ask for opposition to this devastating legislation. Devastating for everyday folks but great for factory farming ops like Monsanto, ADM, Sodexo and Tyson to name a few.
I have no doubt that this legislation was heavily influenced by lobbyists from huge food producers. This legislation is so broad based that technically someone with a little backyard garden could get fined and have their property siezed. It will effect anyone who produces food even if they do not sell but only consume it. It will literally put all independent farmers and food producers out of business due to the huge amounts of money it will take to conform to factory farming methods. If people choose to farm without industry standards such as chemical pesticides and fertilizers they will be subject to a vareity of harassment from this completely new agency that has never before existed. That’s right, a whole new government agency is being created just to police food, for our own protection of course.
DO NOT TAKE MY WORD FOR IT, READ THIS LEGISLATION FOR YOURSELF. The more people who read this legislation the more insight we are going to get and be able to share. Post your observations and insights below. Urge your members to read this legislation and to oppose the passage of this legislation.
Pay special attention to
* Section 3 which is the definitions portion of the bill-read in it’s entirety.
* section 103, 206 and 207- read in it’s entirety.
Red flags I found and I am sure there are more...........
* Legally binds state agriculture depts to enforcing federal guidelines effectively taking away the states power to do anything other than being food police for the federal dept.
* Effectively criminalizes organic farming but doesn’t actually use the word organic.
* Effects anyone growing food even if they are not selling it but consuming it.
* Effects anyone producing meat of any kind including wild game.
* Legislation is so broad based that every aspect of growing or producing food can be made illegal. There are no specifics which is bizarre considering how long the legislation is.
* Section 103 is almost entirely about the administrative aspect of the legislation. It will allow the appointing of officials from the factory farming corporations and lobbyists and classify them as experts and allow them to determine and interpret the legislation. Who do you think they are going to side with?
* Section 206 defines what will be considered a food production facility and what will be enforced up all food production facilities. The wording is so broad based that a backyard gardener could be fined and more.
* Section 207 requires that the state’s agriculture dept act as the food police and enforce the federal requirements. This takes away the states power and is in violation of the 10th amendment.
* There are many more but by the time I got this far in the legislation I was so alarmed that I wanted to bring someone’s attention to it. (to the one person who reads my blog)
Didn’t Stalin nationalize farming methods that enabled his administration to gain control over the food supply? Didn’t Stalin use the food to control the people?
Last word...... Legislate religion and enforce gag orders on ministers on what can and can’t be said in the pulpit, instituting regulations forcing people to rely soley on the government, control the money and the food. What is that called? It is on the tip of my tongue..........
I haven’t read any of the Senate’s version of the bill as I have been poring thru the House’s version. Here is the link and I hope some of you can take a look and post your observations and insights below. One thing I am pretty sure of is that very few if any Senator’s have actually read the legislation and when it comes up for a vote they will more than likely take someone else’s word on how they should vote. The other thing I am pretty sure about is that the legislation was probably written by lobbyists and industry experts.
Companion gambit to the NAIS. Folks, this is notable as to the degree of intention it betrays, not because the grubbamint is setting up the usual and predictable witless food safety bureaucracy in the name of subsidizing corporate agribusiness while forcing small farmers out of business, but because a food distribution control system is being put in DHHS.
This is a chess move.
FDR did something like this in ‘35 or so. A farmer was growing wheat for his family’s own consumption and FDR passed a law requiring farmers to engage in interstate Commerce and so be subject to the Commerce clause.
History repeating itself. I bet all of the farmers who have been existing off the democratic tit all these years will be outraged.
Then again, they’re democrats, they probably won’t even notice.
Time to simply defy them...
Can anyone tell me what FDA means ??? (sarc)
Truth for Tuesday-—Sharon Zechinelli
This week Truth Farmer will feature guest, activist and author extraordinaire, Sharon Zechinelli. Sharon has been fighting against the National Animal Identification System for years. Sharon has written a book entitled “First They Came for the Cows” which is available through her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through Amamzon.com chronicling the events and discoveries made by “Maddie” as she unwound the web of deceit used to foist this program upon the public.
Sharon and Doreen have appeared together on a few radio shows and Cattlenetwork.com “Five Minutes with Jolley”. Sharon has a wealth of information to share and is an engaging and dynamic guest. Join us at 1pm EST on Tuesday March 10th for another informative show on the NAIS and life in the sights of the opponents of freedom.
Click on the links below to hear Truth Farmer on Tuesday from 1pm EST to 3pm EST:
I was just doing research on this bill. It’s making it’s way around the forums.
It reminds me of the the CPSC lead testing law Congress passed last year that would have put all small clothing manufacturers and work-at-home-parents out of business. Luckily a grass-roots movement got them to postpone enforcement of that one.
Control the food, control the people.
F*** Dem Americans?
Less revenue for the Federal Government too.
I’m sure the people that are sending them tea bags are getting laughed at because in the end, the Federal Punks get their cut.
That’s part of the plan, FRiend. Pretty soon, we are all go to be engaged in some form of crimianl activity. Whether it is growing a few tomatoes or grilling outdoors, or consuming tobacco, or driving “too much” or offering a few generic comments on an internet “hate site”, your government intends to make sure you are properly yoked in some way.
We are about five decades tardy in making liberal use of rope and lamposts in DC, universities, foundation offices couthouses, and statehouses. Pun intended.
This will whack domestic food producers, and favor foreign ones.
And once most of our food is sourced offshore, we’ll be at the mercy of whoever controls shipping.
Ukraine famine part II if our overlords so desire.
Yup. I wonder how many liberal lackeys are willing to take grap-shot over grape tomatoes?
grap-shot = grape-shot.
“at the mercy of whoever controls shipping.”
Shipping, along with all other things involved in business, will adjust to existing business levels.
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