We all love to eat; we all HAVE to eat to live. And we would like to know that our food is safe to eat, without making us sick. We eat food from local sources as well as imported sources, from around the world. It is here that many of the food illnesses come into play.
The Government, in their infinite wisdom thought it was better for us not to have control over what we eat. So they came up with a bill so they can do that for us. They have done other food bills in the past, we all know. But is this one different? Just how different is this one from the others? In this article, I will try, in plain English explain what HR 2749 is, and how it is different.
What Farm Bill Does
The Farm Bill would give the FDA more power to have say-so over what we eat every day. At the same time, it also shrinks the existing judicial restraints on the actions of the FDA. This means if you are a local mass food producer, (big or small operation) they can come in and shut you down for no reason or as they see fit, which in turn can be for anything the FDA thinks up.
This bill would make big and small operation come under the same regulatory rules and would have an uneven impact on the operations between the big and small farmers.
What the Farm Bill Does NOT Do
It does not address the causes of food safety. It does not over-see agriculture practices and consolidation of the food supply. Nor does it direct resources or regulation to theses areas.
It does not affect the backyard gardens. Those families who grow their food and consume it ONLY for themselves. However, it would affect the roadside farmers markets, simply because they are selling the food they grow, to other people.
Some of the more alarming provisions in the bill
This bill would dictate to farmers on how to grow and harvest the food. This would also open the door to let in other food agencies to tell farmers what and what not to grow. These other food agents would also tell you if you can grow organic foods and have organically raised livestock for the masses….or not. In turn, you will need to feed the livestock with whatever these agents tell you to feed them with, as well as any drugs, fertilizers and pesticides they tell you to use. You will be forced to buy what they see fit, against your better judgment and years of down on the farm.
What happens if something does come up like food-borne illness or contamination?
This bill would allow the FDA to cut off, and quarantine an entire geographical area. This means, if an outbreak did occur, the FDA can stop ALL movement of food. Can they stop you from bringing groceries home? Maybe….in that area. Even if the farmers market, and other local food resource are not the source of the illness, they can be shut down completely too. Some have said under concern this would invite marshal law under the disguise of the food…..to have complete and total control on the population in any geographical area.
Another alarming concern is this bill will give the FDA power to make random and without warrant, to seize and search any and all business records and bookkeeping of a mass food producer of any size. If you are a little roadside farmers market, you will be required to keep records on what you grow, how you grew it, what you used to grow it, and to whom you sold the food to.
The Tracking System
The FDA wants to track your food. If you grow your own food for a roadside market, they want to know where you bought the seeds, where they got the seeds to sell to you. (history of origin) The bill does not however, say how far back, the tracing should go. People have expressed concern over how the records are to be kept, and just how detailed they should be. This would in turn set up people to fail by non-compliance for any penalties and fines imposed.
Failure to keep these records, no matter how detailed they need to be, will result in large fines and/or prison terms for the person and for each violation. They can range up to 10 years in prison, and up to $1000, 000 for each.
The Farm Bill HR 2749, and tracking.