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Old 03-21-2009, 02:36 PM   #31
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Thoughts on these comments from another site:
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This bill will end up prohibiting the use of compost for fertilizer - we will all be forced to use commercial, properly regulated, fertilizers.
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Old 03-21-2009, 04:02 PM   #32
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You mean there will be inspectors to determine if we are doing bokashi behind our kitchen cabinet doors?
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Old 03-21-2009, 04:04 PM   #33
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I did not write that comment. I believe the original poster was concerned about far reaching consequences not readily identifiable when one first reads the bill.
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Old 03-21-2009, 07:40 PM   #34
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Oh look everyone, we have nothing to worry about according to Brian Merchant-
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/03/law-farmers-market-vendor-million-fine.php?daylife=1&dcitc=daylife-article
We are over reacting. We are supposed to forget that this includes small farmers because it's going to get to WalMart. And ecofarmer must be over reacting too because Brian Merchant "can't imagine this resulting in anything more than a little paperwork and a brief headache for small farmers". See ecofarmer, you have no reason to be worrying "about a seven figure fine" because Brian Merchant says you don't. This is my food supply too. I am very uncomfortable with this bill. If anyone else is uncomfortable they might want to consider letting the co-sponsors of the bill know how they feel about it. You can share how you feel with them direct-
Take Action with the Grassroots Netroots Alliance
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Old 03-23-2009, 07:23 AM   #35
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Organic gardeners do not like this bill.

Natural Organic Home Garden Health Howard Garrett Dirt Doctor - HR 875: The End Of Organic Farming?

QUOTED:

Many small farmers and organic food activists are claiming that if H.R. 875 is passed, it will mean the end of organic farming in the United States.

H.R. 875 was introduced by Democrat Rosa DeLauro in February. Her introduction of this bill represents a stunning conflict of interest, because her husband, Stanley Greenburg, works for Monsanto. Monsanto is the world's biggest producer of herbicides and genetically engineered seeds, and they would GREATLY benefit if thousands of small organic farmers were put out of business, because organic farmers don't use Monsanto products.
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Old 03-23-2009, 08:43 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLorax View Post
If anyone else is uncomfortable they might want to consider letting the co-sponsors of the bill know how they feel about it. You can share how you feel with them direct-
Take Action with the Grassroots Netroots Alliance
Thank you for sharing that!

Does anyone have a good three to five sentence "I'm against this bill because" statement that you would care to share? More people are likely to take e-mail action if there is such a blurb available for easy copy-and-pasting.

I still don't feel educated enough to write one for anyone other than myself.

Thanks!
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Old 03-23-2009, 08:48 AM   #37
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Ah, what the heck. Here's my little letter. Hopefully someone will write a better one to make available.

"I am against H.R. 875, because the poor wording of the bill endangers organic farmers and ordinary people who grow backyard gardens. Democrat Rosa DeLauro’s introduction of this bill represents a conflict of interest, because her husband, Stanley Greenburg, works for Monsanto. Monsanto is the world's biggest producer of herbicides and genetically engineered seeds, and they would benefit if thousands of small organic farmers were put out of business, because organic farmers don't use Monsanto products. Thank you."
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Old 03-23-2009, 08:50 AM   #38
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Oh, silly me! If you mail them through the Grassroots Network Alliance, there's a lovely "I'm-against-this-bill-because" blurb all ready to go.
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Old 03-23-2009, 12:26 PM   #39
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Since I posted my take on theFood Safety Modernization Act - H.R. 875, I have been drawn into a number of conversations about the bill and what it means or does not mean for small farmers. In these conversation a fact sheet put out by Food and Water Watch has been referred to often, either by people who support the bill or people who work for Food and Water Watch. Their reading of this bill and mine differ on a few points. Here is what Hayley, an employee of Food and Water Watch posted in the comments on the Garden Rant discussion of this bill.

Hayley said...
Hello everyone,
My name is Hayley and I work for Food and Water Watch. In the posts, Jill, mentioned our fact sheet, well I think it's important to clear up the bill, so I'm going to post it here. Our policy experts have read and interpreted the entire bill and basically there are 6 food safety bills being circulated in Congress, but only this one seems to be receiving a lot of attention. H.R. 875 – would overhauling the totally dysfunctional Food and Drug Administration. But the rumor mill has this legislation pegged as something entirely different. Now it’s time to set the record straight. Here are a few things that H.R. 875 DOES do:
- It addresses the most critical flaw in the structure of FDA by splitting it into two new agencies –one devoted to food safety and the other devoted to drugs and medical devices.
- It increases inspection of food processing plants, basing the frequency of inspection on the risk of the product being produced – but it does NOT make plants pay any registration fees or user fees.
- It does extend food safety agency authority to food production on farms, requiring farms to write a food safety plan and consider the critical points on that farm where food safety problems are likely to occur.
- It requires imported food to meet the same standards as food produced in the U.S.
And just as importantly, here are a few things that H.R. 875 does NOT do:
- It does not cover foods regulated by the USDA (beef, pork, poultry, lamb, catfish.)
- It does not establish a mandatory animal identification system.
- It does not regulate backyard gardens.
- It does not regulate seed.
- It does not call for new regulations for farmers markets or direct marketing arrangements.
- It does not apply to food that does not enter interstate commerce (food that is sold across state lines).
- It does not mandate any specific type of traceability for FDA-regulated foods (the bill does instruct a new food safety agency to improve traceability of foods, but specifically says that recordkeeping can be done electronically or on paper.)

HOWEVER Several of the other bills include provisions that should worry small farmers – like H.R. 814, which calls for a mandatory animal identification system, or H.R. 759, which is more likely to move through Congress than H.R. 875 and calls for electronic recordkeeping on farms and registration fees for processing plants.
I hope everyone found this helpful!

Hayley says the bill "- It increases inspection of food processing plants, basing the frequency of inspection on the risk of the product being produced". What she doesn't mention is that if you "process" (as in cut and bag, or otherwise package food or produce) you are reclassified as a food establishment and subject to these inspections. Many small farms do this. Most large farms do not. She also points out that this bill "extends food safety agency authority to food production on farms." Food and Water Watch think this is a good thing, and it may be for large commercial farms. The requirement to "write a food safety plan and consider the critical points on that farm where food safety problems are likely to occur" (and submit it for review, approval, and inspection, I'm sure) is a good thing for giant producers of some kinds of produce, but would be burdensome and unnecessary for small farms.

Hayley goes on to point out things the bill "does not" do. Some of these are true as far as the wording of the bill is concerned (except that if you process anything on farm you instantly become a food establishment and subject to all the requirements of this law.) Other things, like "- It does not call for new regulations for farmers markets or direct marketing arrangements." are true. The bill isn't aimed at the marketing methods, and contains nothing about farmers markets or direct marketing. But, (9) CATEGORY 5 FOOD ESTABLISHMENT.—The term ‘‘category 5 food establishment’’ means a food establishment that stores, holds, or transports food products prior to delivery for retail sale. the small farmer taking his bags of lettuce to market and holding them there for sale could also fall subject to the inspection and requirements for a Category 5 Food Establishment. That could mean refrigerated trucking, refrigeration at the market, etc. This would have a huge impact on small farms and small Farmers Markets. She says "- It does not apply to food that does not enter interstate commerce (food that is sold across state lines)." I didn't find this anywhere in the bill.

On the topic of traceability Hayley says the bill will not "establish a mandatory animal identification system." and that "- It does not mandate any specific type of traceability for FDA-regulated foods (the bill does instruct a new food safety agency to improve traceability of foods, but specifically says that recordkeeping can be done electronically or on paper.)" But the bill states "SEC. 210. TRACEBACK REQUIREMENTS. (a) IN GENERAL.—The Administrator, in order toprotect the public health, shall establish a nationaltraceability system that enables the Administrator to retrieve the history, use, and location of an article of foodthrough all stages of its production, processing, and distribution.
(b) APPLICABILITY.—Traceability requirementsunder this section shall apply to food from food productionfacilities, food establishments, and foreign food establishments." Seems like a traceability requirement for all food to me.


I still think this bill addresses some efficiency issues that need to be looked at. But it is written with an eye for large producers. The regulatory part takes into account their needs and the problems associated with them. It does NOT consider small farms at all. That is a different system and needs to be addressed in different ways. This bill as it is written has the potential to severely damage the small farm and local food movements. Not from maliciousness, but from ignorance of the issues at this level.

Last edited by ecofarmer; 03-23-2009 at 01:25 PM. Reason: Apparently I can't backlink to my own blog.
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Old 03-23-2009, 12:55 PM   #40
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EXCERPT from the above link,

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And I cannot not assume that I am exempt under the provisions for "food production facilities" because I don't farm for profit, but merely to feed and amuse you. The legislation states clearly:
The term 'food production facility' means any farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal-feeding operation.
There is no hobby or small farm exception.

H.R. 875 gives this new Food Safety Agency the right to set regulations...
...with respect to growing, harvesting, sorting, storage operations, minimum standards related to fertilizer use, nutrients, hygiene, packaging, temperature controls, animal encroachment and water.
In other words, the new agency will be able to deal preemptively with the possibility of unsafe food by telling all farmers how to farm.
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