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I've got a number of things on my radar but there's one very stupid thing that is causing a huge commotion for no good reason. It's HR 875, the Food Safety Modernization Act, a bill by Rosa DeLauro with about 40 cosponsors (mostly progressives) and no chance of passing (yet). The bill is flawed. It's not perfect. She's introduced it into previous Congresses without this much fanfare and panic among the blogs. So let's get the facts straight so that I don't have to see any more erroneous and crazy, paranoid diaries on the rec list.

Then after that we can talk about stuff that's more pressing, like the Employee Free Choice Act and school lunches.

First off - I've been talking to a few different groups on this - Consumers Union and the Organic Consumers Association. I've also spoken to blogger Judith2007 who was a panelist at last year's Netroots Nation. She's a farmer and a lawyer. But she's also swamped with work right now so she has limited time to devote to this. Oh, and OCA and CU seem to be in touch with Food and Water Watch, another group working on this.

OCA's coming up with a statement on this, CU supports it, and I haven't spoken to Food and Water Watch directly but I hear they are coming out with a statement. So step one is STOP PANICKING. We can work MUCH more effectively with DeLauro, Durbin (who is introducing this into the Senate) and other members of Congress if we are rational and fact-based.

I got an email from a local food group with a subject line "The End of Farmers Markets?" It said:

This is a nightmare:

H.R. 875: Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009
http://www.govtrack.us/...

Anyone who fails to register and comply with all of the nonsense could be facing a fine of up to $1,000,000 per violation.

I wrote back something like "Calm down." To which the sender responded with some text of the bill. And (thank goodness) a lawyer responded that farms will NOT be impacted. If I'm reading it right, restaurants and retail stores that sell food aren't affected either. Farmers' markets, CSAs, and roadside stands are ALL SAFE.

(13) FOOD ESTABLISHMENT-

(A) IN GENERAL- The term ‘food establishment’ 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.

(B) EXCLUSIONS- For the purposes of registration, the term ‘food establishment’ does not include a food production facility as defined in paragraph (14), restaurant, other retail food establishment, nonprofit food establishment in which food is prepared for or served directly to the consumer, or fishing vessel (other than a fishing vessel engaged in processing, as that term is defined in section 123.3 of title 21, Code of Federal Regulations).

(14) FOOD PRODUCTION FACILITY- The term ‘food production facility’ means any farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal-feeding operation.

There are 4 bills about food safety you should know about (not just HR 975). Some specifics on each bill:

S. 425 - Sherrod Brown's Bill: Food Safety and Tracking Improvement Act

This is a bill for traceability. No cosponsors yet.

  1. Gives the FDA 3 yrs to establish a traceability system "for all stages of manufacturing, processing, packaging, and distribution of food."
  1. Specifics of the system will be set up by the FDA and an advisory committee that has 1 year to come up with recommendations.
  1. Authorizes $40mil for 2010 to 2012.
  1. Gives USDA & FDA the right to mandate recalls on food.

I'm nervous about any traceability systems only because the National Animal ID System (NAIS) is so awful and because traceability does nothing for prevention and testing and inspections for food safety. It's useful AFTER people start getting sick. What about before? Nonetheless, this bill looks like it's gonna die in committee unless something changes.

H.R. 814 - Diana DeGette's Bill: The Tracing and Recalling Agricultural Contamination Everywhere Act of 2009 (TRACE Act)

A few co-sponsors so far. I don't like this bill. It's similar to Brown's bill with the following differences:

  1. Establishes a traceability system for livestock – cattle, sheep, swine, goat, horses, mules, and other equines presented for slaughter for human food purposes – and meat and meat food products of these animals. (If this means NAIS, that's BAD.)
  1. USDA can prohibit entry into any USDA inspected slaughter facility not identified under this system.
  1. System must allow traceback to any premises at which animal was held at any time before slaughter and carcass/meat products must be able to be traced forward through processing and distribution to ultimate consumer.
  1. Similar requirements for eggs (since obviously laying hens aren't covered by the slaughter-related stuff since you don't kill them to get their eggs.)

In other words, farmers who raise animals for meat or eggs will be forced to register for NAIS. That would spell death to many small, sustainable farmers. Very bad news.

H.R. 875 - DeLauro's Bill: Food Safety Modernization Act

40 co-sponsors, including MANY progressives and even Peter DeFazio, who is a major friend of organics. This bill establishes a Food Safety Agency w/in HHS. It basically splits the FDA into 2 agencies - food and drugs. This bill does NOT change the USDA in any way (they deal with the safety of meat and poultry.)

  1. Requires annual registration of "food establishments" - as noted before, these are slaughterhouses, factories, and warehouses.
  1. Requires these establishments to come up with process controls for preventing contamination: sanitation plan, recordkeeping, sampling to ensure effectiveness of process controls – and to allow access to records by agency. (This is a good idea but limited by corporate honesty... companies are not above keeping two sets of records, real ones and a fake version to show to the government.)
  1. Requires these establishments to tell the new food safety agency about any contamination they find.
  1. The new agency has 3 years to come up with "performance standards" for 5 most significant contaminants. Then they will sample and test foods to assess whether companies are within the standards. If the food shows up too dirty, they can mandate a recall.
  1. Sets up requirements for inspections at least annually and in some cases more often.
  1. The government can visit and inspect farms. The new agency can set specific regulations for farms but the bil calls for recordkeeping and "good practice standards." I hear this is a bit problematic for small farms... the quote I heard was that the govt seemed to think small farmers wrote it down every time they sold a dozen eggs.
  1. Imported food must meet standards AT LEAST equal to food produced in the U.S. The new agency must set up a system to accredit foreign governments or foreign food establishments to certify that their food is up to our standards.
  1. Imported food will be inspected routinely, and there will be some limits on which ports food that needs to be tested or inspected through (based on presence of accredited food testing laboratory).
  1. Requires new agency to set up a traceability system for food, and allows the agency to set up the specifics. The bill mentions NAIS (which worries me) but this bill only deals with the FDA and NAIS is the USDA's thing. Still, I am concerned that whatever is set up is done in a way that doesn't screw over small farmers or small businesses.
  1. Allows the government to mandate recalls (yay!) and sets up higher penalties for those who willfully break the food safety laws.

H.R. 759 - Dingell's Bill - Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act of 2009

I heard from somebody that this might be the bill that actually gets passed, and we might have to work to make it better by adding to it with some of the better parts of DeLauro's bill. The reason given was that he's on the committee that's going to pass any food safety law that gets passed. 6 co-sponsors so far.

Like DeLauro's bill, this ONLY deals with the FDA (not the USDA). This also requires food facilities (a facility that "manufactures, packs, transports, or holds food for consumption") to register annually. Unlike DeLauro's bill, it makes each facility pay a fee to cover the costs of inspecting them. It requires food establishments to have food safety plans and keep records that the govenment can see (which seems similar to DeLauro's bill).
Like DeLauro's bill, foreign food establishments need to be certified.

However this does NOT set up a new agency. It leaves everything under our current FDA. Another nice thing is that it gives smaller businesses longer to comply with the law, because presumably they have less capacity to deal with this stuff than large companies. It requires inspections just like DeLauro's bill BUT less frequently - inspection frequency is depending on the amount of risk you pose for the safety of our food. At minimum, every 4 years. (Currently the FDA inspects places on average about every 10 years.)

Also...

  1. FDA must set regulations for safe harvesting/production of fruits & veggies... this worries me! Typically when the government has gotten involved here in CA they've set some really dumb laws. Farm fields aren't intended to be sterile like hospitals, nor should they be.
  1. Calls for development of "good agricultural practices for produce" to be published w/in 1 year.
  1. Expands traceability requirements to farms and restaurants. (In some sense this is good... we can figure out where tainted food went, but in another sense it's bad... extra burden for small farms/businesses... and again, traceability still doesn't help prevention.)
  1. Expands COOL (Country of Origin Labeling) to processed foods.
  1. Gives mandatory recall authority to FDA. (not USDA?) Also sets penalties for food safety violations - civil penalties, not criminal (DeLauro's bill sets civil and criminal).
  1. Requires labeling for meat/poultry/seafood treated w/ carbon monoxide - THIS IS GREAT. Currently, they treat beef w/ carbon monoxide to make it stay red longer. Consumers use color as one way to tell if the meat is fresh, so it makes it more possible for a consumer to think bad meat is still good and eat it.

OK so that's a lot of legalese and it wasn't fun to write - no doubt it's not fun to read. Point is - there are some problems with HR 875 but it's overall not so bad and parts of it are even good. I like it better than the other bills here.

Now that we've had this discussion, here are things I find a little more important than debunking internet rumors that shouldn't have gotten started in the first place:

Republicans don't care if Iowa drowns in pig poop. Just another Republican example of "wasteful spending." I think they took the word "pork" literally and found the thing in the budget that was actually about hogs.

Time to sling some mud - the Employee Free Choice Battle began today. This applies to food as well as all other sectors of our economy. The Republicans and big business are already started lying about it. Ugh.

We're being given a false choice between starving kids and stuffed farmers. Why can't kids and farmers win together, and why can't the major corporations that screw us all over lose?

More on school lunch news - everyone's gearing up for the child nutrition reauthorization so school lunch is ALL OVER the news these days.

Originally posted to OrangeClouds115 on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 06:50 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  why is NAIS so bad? (3+ / 0-)

    Why is NAIS so bad?  Traceability is a BIG deal in case there were to be a food poisoning outbreak, whether by incompetence or terrorism.  It seems like we really need this to be extended to all producers.  Don't they do that in Europe?

    •  It's good for factory farms (13+ / 0-)

      It places undue burdens on small farms and organic farms. It will drive small farms out of business by adding large overhead costs.

      "It's the planet, stupid."

      by FishOutofWater on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 06:58:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  so, how do you fix NAIS? (4+ / 0-)

        So, how do you fix NAIS so that it doesn't have such large overhead costs?  Traceability is a really BIG deal.  It prevents lots of people from getting sick in case there is any sort of outbreak.  Where do the large overhead costs come from, and how does this work in Europe where they have greater traceability (I think) and more smaller farms?

        •  exempt non-CAFOs (6+ / 0-)

          that'd make me happy. And ESPECIALLY exempt pet owners for crying out loud.

          •  I think I'd be OK with that.. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            OrangeClouds115

            I think I'd be OK with that, but it still leaves some issues.  First, how do you define a non-CAFO?  My wife and I shop (sometimes) at farmer's markets, and I think I know the difference between a CAFO and a family farm, but how would you write this into law?  

            What food safety standards should apply to non-CAFOs?  There have to be some standards; I'm just not sure what they should be.

            It sounds like our food safety system needs to be completely rebuilt.  These are tough problems, and I know enough to know how tough the problems are, but not enough to really suggest good solutions.

            •  actually CAFO's a legal definition (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              econlibVA, Hardhat Democrat

              which is why I went with it.

            •  No, you wouldn't know the difference (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mem from somerville

              between a CAFO and a family farm.  I own a 50-acre farm with 50 head of sheep, a passel of lambs, a cow, 24 chickens and 6 dogs.

              It is operated by just myself and my husband.

              And we are a CAFO.  Why?

              Because if you confine an animal for any period of time off pasture, you must get a CAFO license, or operate illegally, as many people do.  

              My husband and I want to open a sheep's milk dairy.  That means the sheep are confined while being milked for maybe 10 minutes a day.  But they are confined, and feeding in a small area.  That's all it takes.

              Therefore we had to go through the whole process of getting a CAFO license, even though our sheep are on pasture 99.995% of the time.

              Remember, CAFO stands for Confined Animal Feeding Operation - not Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, as many think.  Here in Oregon, we have special licenses for Concentrated CAFOs.

              How many people shut their animals in a barn and feed them hat over the winter without getting a license?  

              The cost of complying was expensive, and the rules are really written for cows instead of sheep (my local agent told me a fun story of writing up a license for a breeder of medical mice), but the rules make for a better environment for everyone, so I'm all for it.

              OrangeClouds115 seems so to have this same erroneous perception of CAFOs, and I think a little more education on this subject is required.  

              •  Surely you aren't really CAFO (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                murrayewv

                Maybe the key to being legal in your case is to limit feed to a couple of minutes.  A minute after the animals come in for milking and a minute while they are being milked. Or make it 15 seconds and a minute and three quarters.  If indeed the law requires every animal being confined for milking to be considered to be a confined feeding operation then every dairy animal operation is such and there are no others. If that is the way the law reads, the lawmakers need to go back to work.

                I'm picturing the animal being milked being completely unrestrained and getting a good laugh out of the image.

        •  The devil is in the details (0+ / 0-)

          I just finished a very quick review of the legislation and I noted one item Orange Clouds needs to review and reconsider for this diary.

          Here's the definition of food production facility:

          (14) FOOD PRODUCTION FACILITY- The term ‘food production facility’ means any farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal-feeding operation.

          Clearly this legislation applies to small farms and ranches.

          The overhead cost structure will be affected by the technologies selected and the reporting requirements. I'm not an expert on this topic, but I have read material that expressed concern about the effects on small farms.

          Perhaps European  has an approach that won't harm small farms. I would welcome comments from anyone with more knowledge of the details.

          "It's the planet, stupid."

          by FishOutofWater on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:15:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  the devil IS in the details (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Hardhat Democrat, murrayewv

            did you see it said they were exempt?

            •  Ha! (0+ / 0-)

              No.

              Where's the exemption?

              "It's the planet, stupid."

              by FishOutofWater on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:18:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  do a CTRL+F (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Hardhat Democrat

                on the word "exclusions"

                •  Exempted from food establishment requirements (0+ / 0-)

                  but it appears that requirements not specific to "food establishments" would apply to farms.

                  (13) FOOD ESTABLISHMENT-

                  (A) IN GENERAL- The term ‘food establishment’ 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.

                  (B) EXCLUSIONS- For the purposes of registration, the term ‘food establishment’ does not include a food production facility as defined in paragraph (14), restaurant, other retail food establishment, nonprofit food establishment in which food is prepared for or served directly to the consumer, or fishing vessel (other than a fishing vessel engaged in processing, as that term is defined in section 123.3 of title 21, Code of Federal Regulations).

                  "It's the planet, stupid."

                  by FishOutofWater on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:30:29 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent analysis and original reporting ... (18+ / 0-)

    ...of the sort I'd love to see more of here in Daily Kos Diaryland. For many people, digging into legislation may seem to be the most boring subject imaginable, but now that we - progressives, that is - actually have some power, getting good legislation passed is a big part of our mission. That requires knowing what's in bills, what shouldn't be there and what's missing that ought to be there. It's also about building alliances with people who will put up those proposals and hone them to as close to perfection as is possible to get enacted.

    Muchos kudos, OC115.

    "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." -Flannery O'Connor

    by Meteor Blades on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 06:57:41 PM PDT

  •  So it's actually just a "modest proposal?" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OrangeClouds115

    "I gotta rec that sh*t, even though it is completely tasteless and rude." ... "luntz and his cretinous kabal are paid bloggers from AIPAC."

    by DemocraticLuntz on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:00:42 PM PDT

  •  Thank you... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OrangeClouds115, greycat, RiaD, 4Freedom

    for taking the time to look at all of these.

    Excellent analysis, thanks!

  •  I appreciate your attempt (3+ / 0-)

    to rein in the conspiracy theorists.  I don't think it will help, but I appreciate the attempt.

    I got a half-baked email that was stupid and false from Food Democracy Now! the other day.  There's a serious credibility problem around some organic activists that may actually be hurting any progress in this area.

    Darwinic pilgrims claim the image fills them with an overwhelming feeling of logic. --The Onion

    by mem from somerville on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:07:20 PM PDT

  •  A real diary! Thank you! (2+ / 0-)

    Nothing "breaking"? You sure?

    Well? Shall we go? At least that man is gone.

    by whenwego on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:18:38 PM PDT

  •  A local farmer - non-organic - with 350 animals (5+ / 0-)

    from turkeys to cattle, thinks NAIS is a great idea.

    He told of a neighbor who called him to report siting a rabid skunk within a few hundred yards of his farm. He used that as a reason to illustrate why he wanted all animals traced. Then, according to him, he would know who had livestock and where that livestock was located so he could understand the risks to his animals.

    Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas. ~ Stalin

    by 4Freedom on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 07:20:32 PM PDT

  •  Traceability would seem to be useful (0+ / 0-)

    in figuring out the source of contamination.

    If you are going to show that NAIS doesn't help ascertain the source of food contamination then there is no need for it.

    If however, NAIS does help then the fact that it may be burdensome for small farmers becomes an argument not to have small farmers not a reason to oppose NAIS.  

    Small farmers are better from a societal point of view only to the extent that they (generally) practice safer and more sustainable agriculture.

    •  Traceablility, Contamination, NAIS (0+ / 0-)

      From what I understand, and I have much to learn, NAIS assigns a tracking number to each farm/ranch/homestead/backyard that has livestock.  For each unit of livestock on said premise, you have to have an tracking chip implanted under the skin (costs include chip and the implanter and are paid by the owner of the livestock).  Anytime any livestock are moved from one pen/paddock/pasture to another, the farmer/owner must inform the government.  I run a goat/cattle farm in the Midwest.  I have 2 acerages divided into up to 5 pastures, as well as 2 rental properties that I run my livestock on.  If I have to notify the govt every time I move my flock/herd from North Pasture/field 1 to South Pasture/field 4, or part of my herd to the rented pasture 1/4 mile away, it requires time and money to send the information.  However, this information in no way will make your food safer!  NAIS will be able to track back animals to their source, but only after the contamination has been detected.  It does nothing to address the problems of contamination due to the over usage of antibiotics and hormones in meat animals raised in CAFO's and feedlots.  It does nothing to restrict the use of animal by-products in animal feed.  It does,however, force small farms to tag individual animals (large feedlots and CAFO'S are able to assign a single number to large numbers of animals that move through the production cycle as a group) and track those animals movements, almost every single movement during thier lifetimes.  So, yes, it will be burdensome for the small producer, but not for the large, commercial, agri-business producer.    

      •  Based on your description (0+ / 0-)

        this seems fairly useless; how do its proponents claim it would help?

        •  Culling herds (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          murrayewv

          If for example there was an outbreak of foot and mouth disease, by having traceability and a master database, the government could cull all ruminants in a ten mile radius (something like that). By knowing where animals come from and all the other animals possibly contaminated by a diseased animal, they should be able to control outbreaks of all kinds of diseases.

          In every cry of every man, In every infant's cry of fear, In every voice, in every ban, The mind-forged manacles I hear

          by Areopagitica on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 09:18:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Culled Herds (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            murrayewv, Areopagitica

            Yes, the government would destroy all herds within the infection zone, whether they were at risk or not.  I know several people who have "closed herds."  These farmers do not bring new animals into their herds except from other farmers who practice the same stringent management practices that they do.  However, in the event of an outbreak, their herds and their livelihoods would be destroyed, despite the fact that they would most likely not be infected.  It would be like the local National Guard appearing on your door step with a government order to kill your pet dog or cat because a dog or cat 10 miles away had rabies.  But wouldn't you feel safer knowing that all possible carriers in your area were destroyed?

            •  There are stories (0+ / 0-)

              about how the British government botched the last foot and mouth outbreak because their agents carried the disease to other farms after doing culls and not detoxing for long enough. They destroyed a lot of heritage breeds (1000 yr old breeds) and there was no due process or ability to challenge the culls.

              Losing a set of animals for a factory farm is no big deal, they have insurance and will start over, but for a real farmer, it could be the end, especially farmers dealing in heritage breeds. I realize that you basically said this already.

              I wouldn't feel safer, especially if there are methods (like vaccination or specific diagnostic tests) for protecting animals without culling herds. But I know culling is the most cost effective and certain way of eliminating disease. But nothing in life is certain.

              In every cry of every man, In every infant's cry of fear, In every voice, in every ban, The mind-forged manacles I hear

              by Areopagitica on Tue Mar 10, 2009 at 09:39:40 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  I just watched "The Future of Food" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OrangeClouds115, rchipevans

    an excellent movie that puts together a lot of the issues we talk about here but in a cohesive manner. Recommended for everyone, especially for people who don't know what huge forces our small farmers are up against.

    Thanks again, OrangeClouds, for your great work in pursuing the facts on food and farm issues. Your diaries are a valuable resource!

  •  Kinda OT, but pertains to COOL (0+ / 0-)

    I took a few bull calves to the local sale barn last week.  I was asked to sign a piece of paper that stated that I knew where the calves had been born and raised (my farm), to comply with COOL.  I took some goats to a different sale barn at the beginning of December and wasn't asked to sign anything, so I don't know if this is a new requirement or only pertains to beef (I last sold calves in May 2008 and didn't sign anything then).  

  •  You can call this a pie fight (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    murrayewv, indubitably

    and ignore this, but I'm going to tell you what the issue is.  I thought from the title of this diary you were open to this conversation, but perhaps not.

    And I tipped for truth and accuracy.  

    I think that some of the unsubstantiated and poorly sourced hair-on-fire diaries that I have seen here on these topics are actually damaging to support for these issues.  It makes it hard to know what the real issues are and how to more forward with them.

    At your behest I signed on to the Food Democracy Now! petition.  I was fine with the Merrigan appointment from their list. But when I saw the action email that came this weekend I was embarrassed to have my name associated with this group.  And I saw at least 3 diaries here that repeated the information wholesale.

    I examined Osterholm's credentials and they seemed reasonable to me.  The Minnesota public health network is discussed as being among the best. Other Kossacks have expressed respect for his work and his background.

    I happen to think that an organization that uses misleading misquotes to scare people is a problem.  And that if this person did become associated with this administration it is not much of a way to start a relationship with them.

    I have a problem with the "truth and accuracy" I'm seeing on these issues.  It is not about whether I disagree with you on one issue or another.  It is about the credibility of information that we are seeing on this.  It is starting to drive away people who would otherwise be supportive of this.

    Darwinic pilgrims claim the image fills them with an overwhelming feeling of logic. --The Onion

    by mem from somerville on Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 06:19:09 AM PDT

  •  This food safety bill totally misses the point (0+ / 0-)

    Considering this diary is already out of date, I'd have added this comment over at your food blog but, for the life of me, I can't figure out how to add comments there.

    For years the CDC was adequate for finding causes of instances of food poisoning.  As Peanut Corp of America demonstrates, our problem with food safety isn't that we need new laws.  It is that the laws we already have need to be enforced.

    The spread of disease through our food supply isn't coming from lack of adequate tracing of food but from agricultural standards that allow for animals to be forced to live in their own feces and the feces of the animals around them, fed feed made from their own species or closely related ones, and raised in such a disease prone environment that preventative antibiotics are needed which create antibiotic resistant infections.

    Pesticides add to the crop danger, wiping out natural predators along with harmful ones. GMO's to make the pesticide an inherent part of the plant are an abomination.

    Most of these conditions don't exist on the  family farm but certainly are endemic in the factory farming operations.

    Another layer of punitive restrictions and form filling isn't going to fix any of this.

  •  OT but I used to work at Consumers Union (0+ / 0-)

    interesting place ....
    left wing management and right wing (largely) audience for the magazine.

  •  Relevant Supreme Court Rulings (0+ / 0-)

    The tin-foil hat yahoos have been going on about the 10th Amendment and "states rights" regarding this but the Supreme Court has already weighed in:

    In Wickard v. Filburn (1942), in the context of the Second World War, the Court ruled that federal regulations of wheat production could constitutionally be applied to wheat grown for "home consumption" on a farm--that is, wheat grown to be fed to farm animals OR OTHERWISE CONSUMED ON THE FARM[emphasis -- JAB]. The rationale was that a farmer's growing "his own wheat" can have a substantial cumulative effect on interstate commerce, because if all farmers were to exceed their production quotas, a significant amount of wheat would either not be sold on the market or would be bought from other producers. Hence, in the aggregate, if farmers were allowed to consume their own wheat, it would affect the interstate market in wheat.

    http://www.answers.com/...

    In other words, the Supreme Court has already determined that the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution gives the Federal government jurisdiction over not only farmer's markets, but over the food farmers produce to feed their own families at no charge.

    From the introduction to the case:

    Background of the case

    Wickard v. Filburn must be read against the background of the Great Depression and the beginning of the Second World War. In his internet article on the Great Depression, Robert J. Samuelson writes:

    It is hard for those who did not live through it to grasp the full force of the worldwide depression. Between 1930 and 1939 U.S. unemployment averaged 18.2 percent. The economy's output of goods and services (gross national product) declined 30 percent between 1929 and 1933 and recovered to the 1929 level only in 1939. Prices of almost everything (farm products, raw materials, industrial goods, stocks) fell dramatically. Farm prices, for instance, dropped 51 percent from 1929 to 1933. World trade shriveled: between 1929 and 1933 it shrank 65 percent in dollar value and 25 percent in unit volume. Most nations suffered. In 1932 Britain's unemployment was 17.6 percent. Germany's depression hastened the rise of Hitler and, thereby, contributed to World War II. [1]

    [edit] New Deal Background

    In an effort to combat the problems of the Great Depression, FDR proposed...

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    Better stock up on ammo and canned goods!

    ROFLMAO

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