Senate Bill S510: Food Safety or Food Fascism?
by Keri Marion
Posted On: August 22
Of all the many facets of sustainable food, food safety is probably on the top of the list. After all, what good is it, if it’s not safe to eat? Out of the perils of systematic pesticide and herbicide use, sloppy factory conditions and general negligence in the factory food sector, we find ourselves in a situation where a number of elected officials are looking to make food safety a priority in the United States. At its core, I respect the desire to make the food supply safer, but as Senate Bill S510 has taken a number of liberties against food independence, I wonder who’s backing the bill and why? Certainly, it’s not solely about food safety.
Senate Bill S510 is summarized to “A bill to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to the safety of the food supply” except it has a number of dangerously fascist ideas nestled within its outlined text. Because a small farmer is now equated to the industrial farm, the mistakes of the industrial farm are laid onto the small farm. So now small farms, who have little to no recalls or health issues will be susceptible to being nickle-and-dimed by fees until they can no longer run their businesses without breaking the law. That’s some scary business.
Let’s look at who supports the bill. According to maplight.org, (sidenote: this site is straight-up awesome) huge corporations like General Mills, Kraft Foods North America, National Association of Manufacturers and 25 more organizations support this bill. In opposition: American Grassfed Association, Family Farm Defenders, Small Farms Conservancy 93 others in an open letter to address the Senate Bill S510.
The letter is to the point: the regulations that the government would like to enforce don’t actually apply to small operations, specifically organic farms. The disease-laden corporate industry is infected within the large-scale operations where pushing product over quality is more important and safety can sometimes be overlooked. The Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) publishes an extremely up-to-date recall list proving this point effectively. Over the last three years of my purchasing local, responsibly-raised food, I have never once encountered a recall of any sort.
On Govtrack.us, where you can read the bill in its entirety, an anonymous answer to the question of redundancy within the Food Science Experts that work for the FDA was quite clear in its support of knowing the land from which food grows:
“Although one may try to argue that one incident is too many, it appears that the majority of the incidents actually occur in large producers who are “in it” for the money. To strangle the small farmer with regulations and taxations harms not just the industry, but the future of the next generation of farmers who would gain their skills of growing healthful food from this generation.”
That’s not to say family farms go without issue, but the small farms are able to catch issues quicker, track their product faster, contact their customer base personally and are held to a local reputation that means far more than any corporate marketing could ever buy.
Urge your senator to oppose this bill as it is written; it can severely impede the right of food independence, instill unjust laws upon sovereign tribal nations and turn our neighbors into criminals for taking their personal gastrointestinal safety into their own hands by using accountable, knowledgeable farmers to raise it. It is our own responsibility to ensure the food we eat is raised ethically with cleanliness and the utmost focus on food safety in the United States.