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Creating Waves of Awareness

News Alert!
MONSANTO OUTLAWS KNOWLEDGE ABOUT ORGANICS IN BRAZIL

While on my present visit in Brazil, I am staying for some time at APTA, the Government’s Agricultural Research Facility in Piracicaba in the Sao Paulo province. I am engaged in some experiments with agro-homoeopathy there, which the Government subsidises. Dr Fabricio Rossi, the man responsible for these experiments, told me yesterday on 5 August, after we returned from an experiment in the countryside that Monsanto has now made it illegal in Brazil to disseminate knowledge about or-ganic farming, growing and sustainable agriculture. That legislation has just been passed by the Brazilian Parliament. The only people exempt are agricultural scientists and their publications, since they are not meant for public dissemination.

At first, I thought he was joking – would it now be impossible to publish my books on agro-homoeopathy here? They are being translated at present. He told me that was quite possible, because from now on, no publisher can publish any books, magazines or articles on the subject of sustainable agriculture, let alone one that propagates getting away from Monsanto’s poisons, for public distribution. If any publisher would still publish such information, they will no longer be allowed to sell those books. They will also be taken to court by Monsanto, for violation of this law. No bookstore in the country can and thus will carry any books on the subject in the near future – can you imagine?
Outrageous! Enter the Monsanto thought-police!

THE DANGERS FOR OTHER COUNTRIES

We can expect Monsanto to seek similar legislation to be passed in other countries too. India and China come to mind, as well as Indonesia – countries that are more or less dictatorial anyway. I suspect they will try something similar in the US, although there the laws guarantee freedom of the press. They will exploit any loophole they can find though, if the Brazilian experience is any indication. If I had the money, I would immediately engage a constitutional lawyer here, to find out if it violates the Brazilian Constitution. If so, I would also immediately mount a court case against Monsanto.
My thoughts on the subject are that politicians that allow such utterly draconian laws can only do so, due to ignorance of the public. If the only means to enlighten that public are taken away, one truly enters the world of Orwellian dictatorship, so well depicted in “1984” or Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”. What are the authorities going to do with the books on the subject that already exist? Burn them?

It indicates that Lula is in the pocket of Monsanto and that the Environment Minister, although a nice green-thinking man, has absolutely no clout at all. It also indicates the farmers are fed propaganda and kept in the dark about alternatives. It moreover indicates that Monsanto stoops as low as possible to ensure their version of the ‘truth’ is the only one available. Any individual or company disseminating such knowledge will immediately be prosecuted. Anyone I teach about the subject will be – like myself – breaking the law and subject to harassment and court cases by Monsanto, with possibly heavy fines and/or jail terms. Not a prospect I look forward to, I can tell you.

This means that the only chance to enlighten the politicians, the farmers and the consuming public, will be through the Internet. We should massively bombard the Brazilian authorities and the public with protestations through email, letters to the editor of the major papers and inform the TV stations. The latter two will probably be ineffective, considering the ´news´is but propaganda. A site can be situated outside the country and still disseminate the necessary knowledge.

BREAKING THE LAW

One wonders whether such denial of information is not in violation of International laws concerning freedom of the press and whether it would serve to take Monsanto to court over its violation. Whether such could be mounted here remains to be seen, with the general ignorance of the public.
I will be in direct violation of that local Brazilian law when I do my teaching on the subject here. It is something I would like to make public here, if only to challenge Monsanto. One obstacle is my lack of the local language. It also means I am stuck in this country, because my only means of livelihood has just been taken away. I would need some support from others to fight this in any court of law, regardless whether local or at the International Court in Strassbourg. It is a pity the latter court is a toothless paper tiger that can only issue recommendations.

Anybody got any other ideas on how we could fight Monsanto on this important issue? Anyone interested in helping me to fight this draconian law?

By the way:
Yesterday Monsanto introduced Genetically Modified Sugarcane here in Piracicaba.
Coincidence?
I doubt it!
The area is a sugarcane monoculture anyway - it is the cash-crop, because it is used to make alcool, for cars.

Tags: LAW., MONSANTO, ORGANICS

Views: 76

Replies to This Discussion

please furnish more specific information on this, such as references to the legislation, or other articles. my down and dirty search on this revealed there is a very active social/economic movement in Brazil against such things. i do not doubt monsanto lobbies for this, but without further information would think the likelihood of this passing is slim.

note, however, how the pharmaceutical lobby in the US has conquered the savior in the white house.
Hi John,
I do not have any further info yet - remember, this happened yesterday. Dr Rossi is not one to make crazy claims only. I also do not speak the local lingo, so for me to research the info on the legislation is very difficult - frustrating but true.

Note also Monsanto´s bribery in Indonesia to get Bt cotton and RR soy allowed there. Brazil is probably different in some ways, but politicians are the same crooks everywhere.
The saviour in the white house was already conquered by the banks before he took office.

Do you have any info on the consumer groups here in Brazil?
Hi John.
This is what happens right now in the US

This is from some time ago, so most of it may already have become law.

OUTLAW ORGANIC FARMING

The US House and Senate are about (in a week and a half) to vote on a bill that will OUTLAW ORGANIC FARMING (bill HR 875).

There is an enormous rush to get this into law within the next 2 weeks before people realize what is happening.

Main backer and lobbyist is Monsanto – chemical and genetic engineering giant corporation (and Cargill, ADM, and about 35 other related agri-giants). This bill will require organic farms to use specific fertilizers and poisonous insect sprays dictated by the newly formed agency to "make sure there is no danger to the public food supply". This will include backyard gardens that grow food only for a family and not for sales.

If this passes then NO more heirloom clean seeds but only Monsanto genetically altered seeds that are now showing up with unexpected diseases in humans.

There is a video on the subject.


And another one:

The name on this outrageous food plan is Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (bill HR 875).

PLEASE PASS THIS ALONG TO ALL CONCERNED ON YOUR MAILING LISTS & CALL YOUR SENATE REPRESENTETIVES TODAY!

Get on that phone and burn up the wires. Get anyone else you can to do the same thing. The House and Senate WILL pass this if they are not massively threatened with loss of their position....they only fear your voice and your vote.

The best thing to do is go to
All you have to do is put in your zip and it will give you your congressperson and how to get in touch with them.

When you call their office someone will answer the phone, politely and respectfully just tell them that you are calling to express your views on HR 875. Tell them your views, they'll take your name and address and pass your comments along to the congressperson. The following link is a list of the U.S. senators with their contact info.
Good we don't have this type of thing in Europe. However, Monsanto is doing its best to have us accept the GMOs too. The EU is hesitating and does not want it, because the consumers here are much more aware than in the US. We would simply refuse to buy the stuff. There may be some grants to study the subject to death, but farmers do not want it either, except some of the shills for the Agribusinesses.

NOW FOR SOME POLITICAL PROPAGANDA

Rep. Rosa DeLauro knew she had a problem when her colleagues began asking her on the House floor about her bill that was going to put small farmers out of business. Her own offices in Washington and back home in Con¬necticut are getting bombarded with calls from angry constituents demanding she stop her assault on backyard organic farms.
What, they want to know, does she have against organic heirloom tomatoes?
"It was substantial and it wasn't just my office," DeLauro tells the Huffington Post. "All of my colleagues -- I have colleagues who come up to me on both sides of the aisle and they say to me, 'Rosa, what's this about 875?'"
H.R. 875, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, has become an Internet phenomenon, the subject of alarmist e-mails warning gardeners that Congress is plotting against their plots, that the vote is coming any day, and we must take action! The outraged constituents span the political spectrum.
The bill, it's argued, is being pushed quietly by big agribusiness, herbicide and pesticide behemoths such as Monsanto, who want to outlaw organic farming using backdoor food-safety rhetoric. The richest irony, for anyone who has followed DeLauro's career, is that she's as far from a friend of Monsanto as can be conjured.
The anti-875 movement latched onto DeLauro's definition of a "food production facility" as "any farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal-feeding operation." The bill makes such facilities subject to safety inspections, leading to fears that clipboard-wielding bureaucrats will soon be strolling through your lettuce patch.
"Didn't Stalin nationalize farming methods that enabled his administration to gain control over the food supply?" recalled one libertarian blogger at Campaign for Liberty.com. "Didn't Stalin use the food to control the people?"
Yeah, Stalin did. But DeLauro has no plans to collectivize agriculture in the United States. The opposite, actually.
"The intent of the bill is to focus on the large, industrial processes such as the peanut processing plant in Georgia that was responsible for the salmonella outbreak that killed nine people," she says. She emphasizes that the Constitution's commerce clause prevents the federal government from regulating commerce that doesn't cross state lines. DeLauro says she's open to making technical changes to the bill if any small farmers remain concerned that the bill is aimed at them.
Currently, 15 separate federal agencies are involved in regulating food safety and there is no system in place to get to the source of an outbreak once it happens. We still don't know what contaminated the tomatoes leading to a previous salmonella outbreak, one which was originally blamed on spinach -- to the great detriment of spinach growers. DeLauro's bill would put one agency in charge and try to organize the chaos that is the current system.
"This notion that we're destroying backyard farms is absurd. It's ludicrous," she says. "I chair the agriculture subcommittee of appropriations. Why would I be putting farmers out of business?"
DeLauro says she has been told that the disinformation campaign "was a libertarian operation somewhere in the country, but we're trying to figure it out."
In the meantime, she sent a letter to all of her colleagues explaining what the bill does and is planning a more public campaign to clear the air. She has marshaled organic farming organizations in her defense. Her homepage directs people to "get the facts on H.R. 875."
For a long time, DeLauro figured that the campaign was too absurd to take hold - similar to the assumption John Kerry made about charges he lied about his war record. The bill wasn't even new, she reasoned, having introduced the same thing the year before.
"I made an assumption, maybe it was the wrong assumption, my God," she says. "I guess it was naïve in a way." As the calls and questions from colleagues mounted, she decided she had to respond. "It was significant enough that I said to myself, 'Whoa, this is beyond anything I'd dreamed could catch on.'"
Watching a viral Internet campaign take shape can be a bizarre experience, she says. "You have a sense of who you are and what you're about. But that may be thinking too much about who you are and what you do. You have to explain to people; you have to tell them; you have to retell them."


HR 2749 - THE FOOD SAFETY ENHANCEMENT ACT OF 2009

Read the Executive Summary
Sign the Oppose HR 2749 petition!
Read Frequently Asked Questions
Listen to Pete Kennedy's HR 2749 Interview on RadioAmerica (June 18, 2009 at 8 am)
Update
June 18, 2009 by Pete Kennedy, Esq.: On June 17, the Waxman amendment to HR 2749 was voted out of the House Commerce and Energy Committee and is headed to the House floor for consideration. It may be amended again before the House votes on HR 2749. See Talking Points for changes to the "Alarming Provisions".
* * * * *
News Post

June 15, 2009 - by Pete Kennedy, Esq.: The review below of HR 2749 was based on the June 10 Pallone version that was voted out of the Health Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce - see Endnotes for edits from updated versions.
On May 26, leading members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee released a discussion draft of the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 (FSEA). Committee members supporting FSEA include Chair Henry Waxman (D-CA), Chair Emeritus John Dingell (D-MI), Frank Pallone (D-NJ, Chair of the Health Subcommittee), and Bart Stupak (D-MI, Chair of the Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee).
Even before the FSEA was formally introduced, the Health Subcommittee held a hearing on the discussion draft on June 3. (Six other food safety bills have been introduced, but none have gotten a hearing yet.) The discussion draft with some changes, was introduced as HR 2749 on June 8 by Rep. Dingell. Rep. Pallone introduced an amendment “in the nature of a substitute to HR 2749″ on June 10. This version of HR 2749 has been voted out of the Health Subcommittee and is now headed to the full Energy and Commerce Committee for mark-up on June 17. The bill is on the fast track.

The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act

Passage of the FSEA into law would amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA). The bill proposes a substantial increase in power and resources for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and would significantly diminish existing judicial restraints on actions taken by the agency. Although the bill includes some provisions that could improve the mainstream food system, many of these are vaguely worded and do not clearly define the scope of the agency’s power, creating the potential for inappropriate application and enforcement. Small farms and local artisanal producers are part of the solution to the food safety problem in this country; the bill would impose on them a one-size-fits-all regulatory scheme and would disproportionately impact their operations for the worse. A detailed analysis of some of the key provisions is below [the citations are to the relevant section and page number of the June 10 version of the bill].
The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund is opposed to HR 2749 because it would adversely impact small farms and food producers, without providing significant reforms in the industrial food system. HR 2749 does not address the underlying causes of food safety problems, including industrial agriculture practices and the consolidation of our food supply.

I. REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS

Under current law, all “food facilities” are required to register with the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) [21 USC § 350d]. The registration requirement is for one time only and no fee is charged. The FSEA would amend the current law to add significant requirements.

A. ANNUAL REGISTRATION FEE
The FSEA would require facilities to register annually [section 101(b)(1)–p. 3], rather than a one-time registration. Registrants would also be required to pay an annual fee of $500, to be adjusted for inflation [section 101, Part6, sec 743(b)(1)(A)–p. 10].

B. LIMITED EXCLUSION FROM REGISTRATION FOR FARMS
The term “facility” does not include “farms” for purposes of registration in either the current law or under the bill [21 USC § 350d(b)(1)]. But what exactly is a “farm”? The FDA’s current regulations take a very narrow view of what qualifies as a farm:
“…a facility in one general physical location devoted to the growing and harvesting of crops, the raising of animals (including seafood), or both. Washing, trimming of outer leaves of and cooling produce are considered part of harvesting. The term “farm” includes:
“(i) Facilities that pack or hold food, provided that all food used in such activities is grown, raised or consumed on that farm or another farm under the same ownership; and
“(ii) Facilities that manufacture/process food, provided that all food used in such activities is consumed on that farm or another farm under the same ownership.” [21 CFR § 1.227(3)] (emphasis added)
“Manufacturing/processing” is defined as “making food from one or more ingredients, or synthesizing, preparing, treating, modifying or manipulating food, including food crops or ingredients. Examples of manufacturing/processing activities are cutting, peeling, trimming, washing, waxing, eviscerating, rendering, cooking, baking, freezing, cooling, pasteurizing, homogenizing, mixing, formulating, bottling, milling, grinding, extracting juice, distilling, labelling, or packaging.” [21 CFR § 1.227(6)] In other words, any farm that makes jam, cans vegetables or packages cut fruit would not be considered a “farm” under the regulation unless the food is consumed only on the farm!
In a subsequent guidance document, FDA expanded the definition of “farm”: “The term ‘farm’ also includes facilities that manufacture/process, pack or hold food, provided that all food used in those activities is grown, raised or consumed on that farm or another farm under the same ownership.” (emphasis added). Under the guidance document a “farm” can process food if the raw ingredients are grown or raised on that farm. In other words, a farmer could make lacto-fermented foods from his own produce; but a farmer who obtains produce from a neighbour to make such foods (unless consumed there) would no longer be considered a “farm” and would be subject to FDA registration.
Even under the guidance document, many small farms and artisanal producers could be required to register. FDA has not enforced this requirement strictly so far, but that is no guarantee about future actions by the agency. And if the agency were to revoke the guidance document and enforce the registration requirement in accordance with the definition of “farm” contained in the regulations, many farms would be required to register and, under the FSEA, pay an annual fee.

B. ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION
The FSEA would also mandate that registrations be submitted in electronic format only [section 101(b)(1)(C)–p. 4]. Amish and Mennonite food producers having to register would thus be faced with a choice of violating either their religious faith or the law, while other food producers could face added expense and problems if they do not have the necessary technology. Failure to properly register would constitute misbranding and would be a violation of the law [section 101a–p. 3].

C. UNIQUE FACILITY IDENTIFIER
All food facilities required to register would also be required to have a “unique facility identifier” [section 101(b)(2)(G)–p. 6]. “The Secretary may, by guidance, specify the unique numerical identifier system to be used . . . .” [section 206, sec. 911 (c)–p. 101]

II. QUALITY CONTROL FOR REGISTRANTS
A. HAZARD ANALYSIS & PREVENTIVE CONTROLS
Under FSEA, the owner, operator or agent of a facility that must register must also undertake extensive paperwork requirements including the following:
1. Conduct a hazard analysis (or more than one if appropriate);
2. Identify, implement, and validate effective preventive controls;
3. Monitor preventive controls;
4. Institute corrective actions when monitoring shows that preventive controls have not been properly implemented or were ineffective;
5. Conduct verification activities;
6. Maintain records of monitoring, corrective action, and verification; and
7. Reanalyze for hazards. [section 102(b), sec 418A(a)–p. 18]
Failure to comply with any of these requirements would constitute adulteration under section 102(a) [p. 17]. These requirements apply even if a facility engages solely in intrastate commerce, such as a local baker selling at a farmers market.

B. FOOD SAFETY PLANS
Before a facility can ship any food in interstate commerce, a written food safety plan must be developed and implemented. The plan must include the hazard analysis and any reanalysis as well as a description of each of the following elements:
preventive controls being implemented;
procedure for monitoring preventive controls;
procedures for taking corrective action;
verification activities for the preventive controls, including validation, review of monitoring and corrective action records, and procedures for determining whether the preventive controls are effectively preventing, eliminating, or reducing to an acceptable level the occurrence of identified hazards or conditions;
recordkeeping procedures;
procedures for the recall of articles of food, whether voluntarily or when required;
procedures for the trace back of articles of food, whether voluntarily or when required;
procedures to ensure a safe and secure supply chain for the ingredients or components used in making the food manufactured, processed, packed, transported or held by such facility; and
procedures to implement the science-based performance standards issued. [section 102, sec 418A (a)(2)–pp. 24-26]
The requirements for the hazard analysis, preventive controls and the food safety plan will strain the time and resources of small producers, putting many of them out of business. As a result, consumers will lose local food sources and be forced to obtain more of the foods from the industrial system–the system responsible for the food safety problems in the first place.

C. RISK-BASED INSPECTIONS
Finally, all registered facilities will be subject to federal inspection even if they engage only in intrastate commerce. In contrast, under current law inspection can be made only of a “factory, warehouse or establishment” of a firm engaged in interstate commerce [21 USC 374(a)(1)] Note that the massive recalls during the last several years have all involved facilities that shipped interstate.
The FSEA charges the Secretary with implementing an inspection schedule with the frequency of inspections dependent on the “risk presented by the facility”. Under the FSEA, “any facility that manufactures or processes raw products of animal origin” would be a high-risk facility and could be subject to inspections as frequently as every six months [section 105(a)–p. 36]. Refusing an inspection would constitute adulteration under the FSEA [section 207(a)–p. 101].

III. RECORDKEEPING AND TRACEABILITY REQUIREMENTS
Beyond registration, farms would not be exempt from several onerous requirements under the FSEA.

A. RECORDKEEPING
Under the FSEA, all food producers would have to make their records available to FDA inspectors. Under current law, FDA can examine the records of those in the food business (excluding farms and restaurants) if there is “a reasonable belief that an article of food is adulterated and presents a threat of serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals” [21 USC 350c(a)]. Under the FSEA, all those in the food business, including farms, must turn over to FDA inspectors all records “bearing on whether the food is adulterated, misbranded or otherwise in violation of this Act . . .” [section 106(a)–p. 39]. This requirement “applies to all records relating to the production, manufacture, processing, packing, transporting, distribution, receipt, holding of [food]” that is maintained “in any format and at any location.” [section 106(a)–pp. 39-40]
In other words, FDA would now be empowered to go on a ‘fishing expedition’ and search records 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. Refusing a records inspection would constitute adulteration [section 207(a)–p. 102].

B. TRACEABILITY
The FSEA charges the HHS Secretary with establishing a tracing system for food:
Such regulations shall require each person who produces, manufactures, processes, packs, transports, or holds such food–
to maintain the full pedigree of the origin and previous distribution history of the food;
to link that history with the subsequent distribution history of the food;
to establish and maintain a system for tracing the food that is interoperable with the systems established and maintained by other such persons; and
to use a unique identifier for each facility for such person for such purpose. [section 107(c)(2)(A)(i)–pp. 43-44]
The tracing system must enable the Secretary to “identify each person who grows, produces, manufactures, processes, packs, transports, holds, or sells such food in as short a timeframe as practicable but no longer than 2 business days.” In issuing related regulations, the Secretary may include:
“(A) the establishment and maintenance of lot numbers;
“(B) a standardized format for pedigree information; and
“(C) the use of a common nomenclature for food.” [section 107(c)(3)–p. 45]
“Pedigree” is not used in reference to food anywhere in the United States Code (USC) or the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) nor is it referenced as such in any dictionary. FDA is being given power to invent a new meaning for this word. How far will the traceback extend to determine the full pedigree? Will it go back to the harvested crop (or even seed) from which the food is produced? How will traceback be done on multi-ingredient foods? Will part of determining the full pedigree require tracing the inputs used in food? How large a database will be needed to store this information? What will the cost of it be? How many people will FDA have to hire in order to enforce traceability?
There is an exemption from the traceability requirements for direct-marketed food, “if such food is–
“(i) produced on a farm; and
“(ii) sold by the owner, operator, or agent in charge of such farm directly to a consumer or to a restaurant or grocery store.” [section 107(c)(4)(A)–p. 46].
For example, vegetables grown on a farm and sold at a farmers market would be exempt. But if that same farmer brought peaches from a neighbour’s farm to sell at the market, the peaches would not be exempt.

IV. GROWING STANDARDS
The FSEA will also directly impact produce farmers by authorizing FDA to tell them how they can grow their crops. The bill would require the HHS Secretary to establish by regulation “science-based standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, sorting, transporting and holding of raw agricultural commodities that–(1) are from a plant or a fungus; and (2) for which the Secretary has determined that such standards minimize the risk of serious adverse health consequences or death to human or animals.” [section 104(b), sec 419A(a)–p. 31]
Any issued regulation “may include standards addressing manure use, water quality, employee hygiene, sanitation and animal control and temperature controls, as the Secretary determines to be reasonably necessary.” [section 104(b), sec 419A(b)(3)–p. 32]
In issuing the regulation, the Secretary “shall take into consideration, consistent with ensuring enforceable public health protection, the impact on small-scale and diversified farms and on wildlife habitat, conservation practices, watershed-protection efforts and organic production methods” [section 104(b), sec 419A(b)(7)–pp. 32-33]
Based on the FDA’s track record with “good agricultural practices”, the agency is unlikely to adequately address the differences between industrial operations and sustainable farms. The danger is that FDA will adopt regulations that treat small farms growing a diversity of crops organically (whether certified or not) the same as a facility growing thousands of acres of a single crop conventionally. The regulations could be expensive and burdensome or simply not feasible for small farms. Any produce that does not meet the established safety standards would be considered adulterated under the FSEA [section 104(a)–p. 30].
Aside from produce, the Secretary is charged with issuing “science-based performance standards applicable to foods or food classes.” The Secretary is to “identify the most significant food-borne contaminants and the most significant resulting hazards . . .” and “to minimize to an acceptable level, prevent or eliminate the occurrence of such hazards” [section 103(b), sec 419–pp. 29-30]. Food that “has been manufactured, processed, packed, transported or held under conditions that do not meet [these] standards” is considered as adulterated under the FSEA. FDA would have the power to make pasteurisation of raw milk a performance standard.

V. ENFORCEMENT POWERS
The FSEA would give FDA considerable enforcement powers. Under current law, FDA can administratively detain food if there is “credible evidence or information indicating that such article [of food] presents a threat of serious adverse health consequences or death to human or animals” [21 USC 334(h)(1)(A)]. The FSEA would lower the standard for detention, permitting the government to detain food simply if there is “reason to believe that the article [of food] is adulterated, misbranded or otherwise in violation of this act” [section 132(a)–p. 82]. In other words, the agency could detain food based on a suspicion of a paperwork error.

A. RECALL POWER
The FSEA would not only expand the ability of FDA to detain food but would also significantly increase the agency’s recall powers. The agency already has the power to request a voluntary recall [21 CFR 7.45(a)], administratively detain food [21 USC 334(h)(1)(A)] or file for a court order to seize food [21 USC 334(a)(1)] or prohibit the food from being distributed[21 USC 332(a)].
Under the FSEA, the powers of the HHS Secretary would be expanded.
The HHS Secretary may request a voluntary recall if there is “reason to believe [the food] is adulterated, misbranded or otherwise in violation of [the FFDCA]” [section 111(b), sec 420(b)–p. 61].
Under the FSEA, the Secretary also would have the power to order the distribution of food to cease if there is “reason to believe that the use or consumption of or exposure to an article of food may cause adverse health consequences to humans or animals . . . ” [section 111(b), sec 420(c)–p. 62].
The firm affected would have 24 hours to appeal the order and request an informal hearing [section 111(b), sec 420(d)–pp. 62-63]; after providing an opportunity for a hearing, the Secretary could either vacate the order or amend the order to require a recall of the food [section 111(b), sec 420(e)–p. 63].
If there is a reasonable belief that a food subject to an order to cease distribution “presents a threat of serious adverse health consequences to humans or animals”, the Secretary may issue an emergency recall order without having to conduct a hearing beforehand [section 111(b), sec 420(f)–pp. 64-65].
Although consumer groups have urged that FDA be granted mandatory recall authority, the “reasonable belief” standard provides too much latitude to the agency and is open to abuse, particularly absent prior judicial review.

B. POWER TO QUARANTINE
Finally, the bill would give FDA the power to order a quarantine of a geographic location. The FSEA provides:
“If the Secretary determines that there is credible evidence or information that an article of food presents a threat of serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals, the Secretary may quarantine any geographic area within the United States where the Secretary reasonably believes such food is located or from which such food originated. The authority to quarantine includes 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” [section 133(b)(1)–pp. 83-84].
In other words, the agency can halt the movement of all food in a geographic area. Farmers markets and local food sources could be shut down, even if they are not the source of the dangerous contamination. The agency could take this drastic action without any court order. The only requirements are that the HHS Secretary “notify an appropriate official of the State affected” and issue a public announcement [section 133(b)(2)–p. 84].

C. CRIMINAL & CIVIL PENALTIES
The FSEA creates severe criminal and civil penalties. Under current law, anyone committing a violation of the FFDCA can be imprisoned for up to three years if the violation was committed “with the intent to defraud or mislead” [21USC 333(a)(2)]. Under the FSEA, anyone who “knowingly violates” certain prohibitions contained in the FFDCA, such as the prohibition against introducing adulterated or misbranded food into interstate commerce [21 USC 331(a)], can be imprisoned for up to ten years [section 134(a)(3)–p. 85]. Note that such actions as failing to register a facility or not conducting a hazard analysis constitutes “misbranding”. So, an Amish farmer who knowingly refuses to register his facility or a local baker who knowingly failed to fill out the extensive required paperwork, could be thrown in jail.
The bill also provides fines of up to a total of $100,000 for individuals; and a corporation or other entity can be fined up to a total of $7.5 million. Each day during which a violation continues shall be considered a separate offense [section 135a–pp. 85-86]. These fines can be imposed for any prohibited act, which would include violations of the growing standards or paperwork requirements. In contrast, under current law, civil fines are half as high and only levied if someone has introduced or delivered for introduction into interstate commerce adulterated food. [21 USC 333(f)(2)(A)]
While higher penalties may be necessary to deter industrial food companies from repeated dangerous violations, the agency has a track record of pursuing small farmers and producers; these penalties could be imposed to ruin people for actions that pose no threat to human health.

VI. CONCLUSION
The FSEA gives the Food and Drug Administration tremendous power while making the agency less accountable for its actions. It fails to describe how the resources it provides are to be allocated. The industrial food system and food imports are badly in need of effective regulation, but the bill does nothing to prevent FDA from concentrating a disproportionate amount of its resources on local food producers.
The stated purpose of the FSEA is to “improve the safety of food in the global market.” It was disclosed at the June 3rd hearing that, out of the 378,000 food facilities that have registered with FDA, 220,000 of them are foreign facilities that export to the United States. Rep. Dingell commented that the percentage of our food coming from out of the country will increase in the future. This creates massive food insecurity in our country, yet the bill continues to push the federal government’s policy of food interdependence.
While information FDA obtains may be exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act [5 USC 52(a)], it may still be provided “to any foreign government agency; or any international organization established by law, treaty or other governmental action and having responsibility to facilitate global or regional of harmonization of standards and requirements in an area of responsibility of the Food and Drug Administration; or to promote and coordinate public health efforts . . .” [section 112(b)(4)–p. 71].
Food security is achieved by becoming as self-sufficient as possible in food production. Lessening the regulatory burden on small farms and local artisanal producers will improve both food security and food safety. If the FSEA is implemented, many small producers will not have the economies of scale to be able to comply with its onerous requirements.
The Food Safety Enhancement Act needs to be defeated. Any food safety bill should target industrial food processors and imports while leaving the local food system alone. Readers need to contact their Representatives to urge them to oppose the bill. To contact legislators by zip code, use the finder tool at www.Congress.org or call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

Editor's Endnotes:

1. 6/25/09 edit: The HR 2749 revision (6/17 - Waxman) leaves animals under USDA jurisdiction. Edit 1 - Traceability: Will it go back to the animal or harvested crop (or even seed) from which the food is produced? Edit 2 - Growing Standards: FDA would have the power to make pasteurization of raw milk and irradiation of meat a performance standard. Edit 3 - Criminal and Civil Penalties: The bill also provides fines of up to a total of $100,000 for each violation for individuals; and a corporation or other entity can be fined up to $500,000 for each violation a total of $7.5 million.

While this bill may be bad for small Organic farmers, it could also be read differently: it gives the Agency finally the power to tackle companies like Monsanto, whose efforts at adulterating food and food-crops are well-known. It would give the consumer the chance to force the FDA to go after them and since Monsanto is known to delay, each day of delaying would constitute a new offence, punishable by 7.5 million dollars each. Monsanto could thus be forced to lift its game, and give the consumer the power to demand labelling of their adulterations.
The ongoing collaboration between Washington and big agribusinesses.
The industrial bigwigs who walked down from their corporate posts after being invited to become appointees to the EPA, USDA, FDA, et al under the Clinton and Bush administrations. Below is a list of Monsanto officials who held governmental regulatory posts under the Bush cabinet:

Linda Fisher – Deputy Director, EPA, ex V.P. of Monsanto & Chief Lobbyist.

Donald Rumsfeld – Sec. of Defense, ex Pres. of Searle Pharmaceuticals,[5] owned by Monsanto.

John L. Henshaw – Asst. Sec. of Labor for OSHA, worked for Monsanto for twenty years.

Ann Veneman – Sec. of Agriculture, sat on Board of Directors for Calgene Pharmaceuticals, owned by Monsanto.

Mitch Daniels – Dir. of the Office of Management and Budget, ex V.P. of Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals.

And let’s not excise Supreme Court Justice, Clarence Thomas, from this index. He’s an ex lawyer for Monsanto.

The list goes on to include: Marcia Hale, L. Val Giddinger, David Beier, Michael A. Friedman, M.D., Michael Kantor, Josh King, Terry Medley, Margaret Miller, Michael Phillips, William D. Ruckelshaus, Michael Taylor, Lidia Watrud, Jack Watson, Clayton K. Yeutter, Larry Zeph, and the list still goes on my friends.

Add Obama’s appointees.
Obama has named Michael Taylor as the senior advisor to the FDA Commissioner on food safety. Taylor, under the Clinton administration was responsible for approving Monsanto’s rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) in dairy products. The latter growth hormone has been known to increase the risk of breast, colon, and prostate cancers by seven times.

Next in line, we have Sec. of Agriculture Vilsack

who has absolutely no record of food safety, but an amazing track record of support for Monsanto and GMOs.

Vilsack also oversaw a huge recrudescence of CAFO building in Iowa – devastating small farmers and local agriculture. Moreover Obama’s pick for Under Sec. of Agriculture for Food Safety is rBGH-wielding dairy farmer, and Pennsylvania’s Sec. of Agriculture, Dennis Wolff. This guy pushed legislature in PA that would have stripped away the rights of consumers to know whether or not the milk and other dairy products they were buying were contaminated with Monsanto’s (now Eli Lilly’s) genetically engineered bovine growth hormone. Sadly, Kenner did not expose any of this. And the worst is perhaps yet to come.

Earlier this year, congresswoman Rosa De Lauro sponsored HR 875 the "Food Safety Modernization Act."

Monsanto, ADM, Tyson, and others are backing this bill.

And it just so happens that De Lauro’s husband is Stanley Greenberg, owner of a polling and consulting firm, whose main client is – you guessed it – Monsanto.

The bill calls for the creation of a new (and entirely separate from the FDA) food safety administration that will allow government regulation at all levels of food production. This bill also mandates property seizure and fines up to $1,000,000 per charge and/or prosecution for producers and manufacturers and distributors who refuse to comply.

De Lauro also calls for a "national traceability system" that can retrieve history, use, and location of each food product at each stage of production, processing, and distribution. If one visits rfidfood.com, s/he can read that the company "is dedicated to assisting companies design and implement Radio Frequency Identification technology solutions for food-related industries. Whether it is monitoring the temperature of perishable products or the tracking of inventory, BlueBean has the knowledge and capability to provide our clients a competitive advantage."

To back up De Lauro’s insanity, Senate Bill 425

"Food Safety and Tracking Improvement Act," sponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, has been introduced. Backed by ADM and Tyson, it calls for a "traceability system" monitored by the FDA for all stages. If these bills apply to all "food producers" how will small-scale farmers and growers fare? Will Monsanto’s staff of 75 investigators, who have ruined countless locally-catering family farms, be given new positions and duties under this new and separate "food and safety administration" that has industry giants’ names written all over it?
They - Monsanto - are using Pinkerton too, using the old tactic of rail-roading farmers who do not tow the line. Rail-roading is what made them big in the past, working for US Mail.
But, there is hope, to speak with Oblame - ah, sorry, Obama. In Cal they have introduced a bill protecting small farmers against Monsanto. We can only hope the Governator does not veto that bill. Or is that not possible at State level? Ahnuld Swatsenugger is known to have dictatorial aspirations and not known as a consumer-friendly dude, except when it comes to the consumption of steroids, of course. Another Big Pharma friend, who would like to sit in the White House.
Here in Calif,Many many vinards,farms.
But;
"No" regulation for marking GMO foods placed in stores for consumption.
It's not law in calif.that GMO food is in the packet-
No one Cares!
You would think with all the hippies/farmers/organic eco greenies in California someone would protest!
Protesting will be useless. Resistance is useless. Ve haf ways to make you eat our crap.

Ah, the US. Such a great country, but boy, are they kept ignorant! Reminds one of the Soviet Union in the old days.
Here is what these young snouts are supposed to do.
A farmer named Van was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous pasture in Montana, when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud towards him.
The driver, a young man in an Armani suit, Gucci shoes, Ray-Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leans out the window and asks the farmer, 'If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?'
Van looks at the man, obviously a city-slicker and yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers; 'Sure, Why not?'
The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo.
The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany.
Within mere seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data is stored. He then accesses a MSSQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response.
Lastly, he prints out a full-colour, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP Laser¬Jet printer and finally turns to the farmer and says, 'You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves.'
'That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves,' says Van.
He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on amused as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.
Then Van says to the young man, 'Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?'
The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, 'Okay, why not?'
'You're a Representative of Monsanto', says Van.
'Wow! That's correct,' says the yuppie, 'but how did you guess that?'
'No guessing required', answered the farmer. 'You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You tried to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don't know a thing about cows. This is a herd of sheep. Now give me back my dog.
Just like Monsanto has made that move to outlaw organic knowledge in Brazil. Which by the way is only for those that have signed contracts with them. That is the extent of the legislation. I was wondering if it was coincidence they did that while i am in Brazil - they might have gotten wind of it and decided to forestall me. Their experience with me in Australia was not encouraging for them.
I don't know what to say...
I sent this to my husband who was working for one NGO here in Bulgaria year ago.
He was leading anti GMO campaign and tomato tour here, so hope he can help with something or just to send information to more people. We have to be prepare!
Thanks a lot for the information and good luck!

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