Senate Food Safety Update

November 30, 2010
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congressThe bill, with language that is substantially different from its original version, passed the Senate on Tuesday morning by a vote of 73 to 25. Our update has up-to-the-minute information.

The legislation—the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510)—was intended to get the FDA to crack down on unsafe foods before they harm people rather than after outbreaks occur. But it was especially controversial because of a number of provisions that would have created a litany of unintended regulatory consequences for small organic farms and supplement manufacturers. The bill is much improved from its earlier version despite pushback from anti-health-supplement proponents and the processed food industry. The work of a diverse and dedicated coalition and a few members of Congress helped change the bill for the better.

These are some of the changes that ANH-USA and our allies have made to the Food Safety bill:

  • Excluded excessive punishment.

Last week we learned that S. 510 would not include the obscene ten-year jail sentences for food and supplement manufacturers who violate complicated FDA rules. That draconian language was specifically designed to target supplement manufacturers while leaving pharmaceutical drug and medical device companies untouched.

  • Resisted international harmonization of food and health supplement policy.

Together we worked to modify language that would have committed the US to harmonization of international food and supplement rules similar to those in Europe, where attempts are being made to regulate away natural health.

  • Excluded small farmers from burdensome regulation.

Among the Senate bill’s last major sticking points was how it would affect small farmers and food producers. Some small-farm and organic food advocates warned that the legislation would destroy their industry under a mountain of paperwork. Working with the natural health community, ANH-USA succeeded in winning inclusion of an amendment from Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), which exempts producers with less than $500,000 a year in sales who sell most of their food locally. ANH-USA and other organizations fought tirelessly to protect the bourgeoning local healthy food movement from unwarranted federal regulation, and from the processed food companies that are increasingly nervous about the new competition. Thirty processed food organizations like the American Frozen Food Institute and the Corn Refiners Association sent a letter to the Senate arguing that a local produce stand should face the same regulatory hurdles as their industrial-scale processed food operations.

As we previously reported, the House of Representatives has agreed to adopt this Senate version of the bill instead of the awful House version that passed last year. We still do not like the final bill; it has much that is wrong with it. But the House bill was such a horror that we can take comfort in the changes that we were able to make in the Senate. And we will have opportunities to shape its implementation through the rule-making process as the FDA puts more meat on the legislative bones.

Our thanks again to you, our grassroots activists, who overwhelmed the Senate with your letters, phone calls, and emails. You are making the democratic process work!

60 Responses to “Senate Food Safety Update”

  1. Birgit Michael says:

    This is how they snare US, a little at a time. We’re willing to not storm the house, because they made the bill less nasty .In the old days …. well they knew how to deal with ‘representatives’ like that 200 years ago

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  2. Nynature says:

    And this is good? The entire bill needs to be thrown out! How dare the government or any of their regulatory gestapo tell us what we can and cannot eat, who to buy it from, etc. I am sick of the lot of you all. This is just the governments attempt to control the people. Once they have our food source, they can starve us to death. It worked for Mao Tse Tung, why do we think it won’t happen here. New world order? Not on your life!! The people won’t stand for it.

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  3. richard mcfeters says:

    How impersonable your descisions are does not shine a good light on America.
    We don’t like it hen you pass bills yo’ve hardly looked at. I am sure one of your staff has the ability to speed read, and if they don’t, or you don’t, that is bad sop. Pasing a bill with inapropriate wording, or wording that says one thing but, means another are of vast immportance in the type of bill passed. Do the right thing, is not just a sentence. Itis a demand to your morallity to do the right thing, especially when it concerns the right of our American people, and wildlife. thank you

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    • Birgit Michael says:

      All these bills are written by LAWYERS, hence the forked tongue language. Forked tongues are of the devil… Consider the source of all of those draconian bills. that enrich the banksters and impoverish the poor(some more)

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  4. Victoria Kooyenga says:

    Horrifying !. One manipulative word at a time and they slowly take it all away.I dont mind sincere concern being shown for my fellow brother and sisters, but there defineately is something out of balance with this information. Why is this bill so shrouded with double talk and clandestine meanings if it’s really intended for the highest good of the people?

       1 likes

  5. Suzanne Kirby says:

    This is just disgraceful.

       1 likes

  6. Questfortruth says:

    We are in denial if we think that this is a step in the right direction. It is a pacifier in the mouth just like all of the other pacifiers the media and our sick government gives us: false entertainment/distractions galore from the real issues, fake food, vaccines (24 of 36 a baby gets by age 1), pharmaceuticals, EMF’s (fluorescent bulbs is what Obama has ordered, even though they are dangerous to our health, and as of 2011, incandescent bulbs will be gone), fast food, big malls with TV’s so that we can continue to be brainwashed and numbed), oh and big stores like Wallmart and Sam’s so that we can buy more crap we do not need and food that is dead! If you buy crap made in China, you are supporting a dictatorship, a communist regime, where people are seen as numbers and life is not really yours anymore. Our government has sold out too, as the Free trade Agreement passed, all that crap from China can be sent here for free. You can buy the crap cheap and feed the monster that does not care an inch fro you, just your money. Buy made in USA only!

       0 likes

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