Washington DC hates your freedom. Actually, they just hate you!
The US Senate has just passed S510, the Food "Safety" Bill. It is very likely to result in the closing of many small farms and ultimately distort what food is available for us to eat. It the elite produce, we will get it, if they don't forget about. And, oh yeah, think higher prices. Not only is inflation going to boost food prices, but the regulations resulting from S510, coupled with crony capitalism will result in price hikes on top of the inflation hikes.
The bill gives FDA greater authority to initiate recalls, rather than waiting for food companies to voluntarily recall food products. Food processors and farmers also would be required to develop strategies to prevent contaminations, and would be required to allow FDA access to all records.
The bill calls for the FDA to inspect at least 600 foreign food facilities within a year of enactment, and double its number of foreign inspections in each subsequent year for five years. The measure would require inspections every three years for U.S. manufacturing and processing plants the FDA views to be at a high risk for contamination, and every five years for all other domestic facilities. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), 50,000 foreign and domestic food facilities would be inspected in 2015 by FDA or federal, state, local or foreign officials acting on FDA’s behalf.
The legislation also would require most food producers to develop hazard prevention plans and would give the FDA access to those records when requested. Some local food producers with annual sales under $500,000 would be exempt from that rule under the Tester amendment.
"Guns Drawn" Raids on Organic Food Stores in California
In this three-part series, Food Chain Radio host Michael Olson interviews key people in the food freedom movement. From gun-blazing bureaucrats who attack small food producers to legislation like S 510 which threatens to hyper-regulate whole food operators out of business, Olson questions guests about government motives, who’s behind the legislation, and where the crisis really lies.
Olson notes that the U.S. “has a serious food safety crisis, and so its agents, with guns drawn and warrants in hand, are breaking down the doors of the little people who sell food to their neighbors. But wait… which is in crisis: local food or industrial food?”
Instead of shutting down large operators like Wright County Egg, which sold half a billion contaminated eggs, state and federal agents raid small businesses that caused no one illness. (Here’s a recent story, not covered in the broadcast, but which adds to the list of small operators being targeted, who have not sickened anyone.)
Clearly, food safety is not the issue. Instead, we’re advised, follow the money.
Over the past seventy years, food production has been increasingly monopolized into the hands of fewer and fewer farms. The graph below shows the number of US farms and their size from 1900 to 2007. Where we once had nearly six and half million farms, averaging 147 acres in size, the latest USDA figures show just over two million farms, averaging 418 acres in size. Averages hide the further concentration by farming giants which often lease several different plots. (Data from USDA and Ag Classroom. Click here for larger image.)
Factory foods comprise most of the US diet. Industrial food adulterations are directly responsible for the skyrocketing rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart and neurological diseases. Farm overuse of antibiotics has led to drug resistance in humans.
In response, sensible consumers are moving to whole foods grown locally and organically. The number of farmers markets, food co-ops and farm shares is growing exponentially. The USDA Economic Research Service reports that organic farming became one of the fastest growing segments of U.S. agriculture during the 1990s. Certified organic cropland “more than doubled from 1992 to 1997, and doubled again between 1997 and 2001.” It doubled yet again between 2002 and 2005.
As encouraging as this is, only a half a percent of all US farmland is certified organic. That amounted to about 4.8 million acres in 2008, ERS reports.
But Big Food isn’t about to give up any market share without a fight. And Big Food owns government.
Olson told me, “My day job for the past 15 years is General Manager of a 10,000 watt newstalk radio station that programs over 10 hours per day of local content. Much of what I hear the community talking about on the radio consists of the following:
“From the left: ‘I hate big business because big business wants to take all the money and leave me in poverty.’
“From the right: ‘I hate big government because big government wants to take all my freedom and turn me into a slave.’
“I am truly amazed that we on the left and we on the right do not recognize how much we share in common. Instead, we spend our days throwing apples at each other over the backyard fence while they – Big Business and Big Government – steal our grandchildren into pecuniary slavery."