Destroying America’s Family Farm: HR 2749. A Stealth Agribusiness Empowering Act

Linked with Stephen Lendman – USA.

Published on Global Research.ca, by Stephen Lendman, July 12, 2009.

… HR 2749 – the Agribusiness Empowerment Act:

Introduced on June 8, it “amend(s) the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) to improve safety in the global market, and for other purposes.”

Passed in 1938 to ensure public safety, FFDCA gives the FDA regulatory power over food, drugs, and cosmetics, later updated to include other biological products, medical devices, and products that emit radiation.

On June 10, FSEA was fast-tracked from the House Health Subcommittee to the Energy and Commerce Committee where on June 17 it cleared and was referred to the full House “for later consideration.”

Like legislation introduced earlier this year but so far not passed, food safety is the presumed issue, but it’s merely for cover. Current laws and regulations work well but they’re not enforced, an issue this writer addressed in a previous article. It explained that the USDA is woefully understaffed, under-budgeted, and only perfunctorily carries out inspections.

A March 3, 2008 OMB Watch report highlighted the problem. Headlined, “Federal Meat Inspectors Spread Thin as Recalls Rise,” it explained that USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is charged with ensuring safe meat, poultry and eggs, but its budget and staff haven’t kept pace with its mandate.

In FY 1981, it had about 190 workers per billion pounds of meat and poultry inspected. By FY 2007, it was fewer than 88 or less than half as many. Yet under federal law, FSIS must inspect all meat, poultry, and egg products intended for commercial use. Its web site states: “Slaughter facilities cannot operate if FSIS inspection personnel are not present (and) Only Federally inspected establishments can produce products that are destined to enter commerce.”

For these and other agribusiness products, reality belies the mandate as processors, manufacturers, and other corporate operators circumvent procedures, and according to inspectors interviewed, understaffing and lax policies contribute to the problem. An unsafe food supply results. Government policy is to blame, and FSEA and earlier proposed legislation aren’t designed to help. They’re vehicles to empower food giants, destroy small farmers, and harm the consuming public.

The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) Reacts.

FTCLDF is an NGO representing farmers and consumers to:

  • “Protect the constitutional right of the nation’s family farms to provide processed and unprocessed farm foods directly to consumers through any legal means.
  • Protect the constitutional right of consumers to obtain unprocessed and processed farm foods directly from family farms, (and)
  • Protect the nation’s family farms from harassment by federal, state, and local government interference with food production and on-farm food processing.”

Run by industry officials, the FDA is a front group for agribusiness, Big Pharma, and other related industries it “regulates.” If enacted, FSEA will greatly increase its power and limit judicial restraints on its actions. Although some provisions address improving the “mainstream food system,” the potential for “inappropriate application and enforcement” is worrisome because the bill’s language is vague and deceptive. It also doesn’t define greater FDA authority or explain how it will empower agribusiness giants at the expense of small farms, “local artisanal producers” and consumers … (full long text).

(More of his articles on Global Research.ca).

Link: Find on his blog DIRTY SECRETS OF THE TEMPLE.

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