Unconstitutional food bill driven by Big Food lobby dollars

Published on Global Research.ca, by Rady Ananda, Dec. 3, 2010.

While over 200 organizations lobbied on the Food Safety Modernization Act (S.510), no one seemed to notice an unconstitutional section in the bill until after it passed on Tuesday. That day, Roll Call advised that the bill contained a provision, Sec. 107, allowing the Senate to raise revenues. This violates Article I, Section 7, of the U.S. Constitution, granting that power exclusively to the House.   S.510 opponents now celebrate the House’s use of the “blue slip process” to return the bill to the Senate … //

… Monsanto and the Tester Amendment: 

Two final comments are in order: one on the ineffectual Tester Amendment and the other on Monsanto’s influence over food safety.

First, the Tester Amendment “exemption” — defined as those generating less than $500,000 a year in revenue –  is ludicrously low.  Kraft Foods generates that every seven minutes : it earned $40 billion in revenue in 2009.  There can be no single bill that adequately addresses food production when talking about producers as disparate as these.  Small farms are in a different universe from multinational corporations.

A ten-million-dollar exemption is more reasonable. Farms earning less than $10 million a year are much more similar to Mom & Pop operations than they are to Kraft Foods or Monsanto.  Farms earning between a half million and ten million annually are more likely than Mom & Pop to achieve product consistency and, because of a higher output, lower market price, thus appealing to locavores on three levels. That ludicrously low $500,000 figure only highlights the overreach of an obese federal government.

Second, the Tester Amendment does not exempt small food producers as broadly as proponents claim. Eric Blair noted that “even a ‘very small business’ making less than $500K per year, doing business ‘within 275 miles’ and directly with ‘end-user customers’ is still required to adhere to all of the [other] regulations” in the massive food control bill.

In order to qualify for exemption, he points out that small producers must file three years of detailed financial records, detailed hazard analysis plans, and detailed proof of compliance with local, county and state laws. Then, the Secretary of Health and Human Services must approve each exemption.

How many “food producers” who donate food to the homeless, or who supply homemade products at bake sales, county fairs, church bazaars, and community picnics are going to bother with such hyper-regulation?  Obama’s vision of food “safety” destroys the local economy, and it destroys community relations.

S.510 opponent Sen. Tom Coburn has repeatedly stressed that the bill will not make our food supply any safer and will “drive small producers out of business.” No wonder so many multi-billion dollar corporations support it.

Finally, let’s not forget that Obama has stacked his administration with former employees of Monsanto, making Michael Taylor his Food Czar. Anything this Administration supports in the way of food control will surely benefit Monsanto, while harming the natural foods industry and small producers. Indeed, the Food and Drug Administration is already waging a bureaucratic war on private food contracts and natural food producers.

Meanwhile, the battle for food freedom rages on, with a temporary reprieve now that S.510 has been recalled to the Senate Chamber. (full text).

(Rady Ananda is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Rady Ananda).

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