Monday, November 16, 2009

[borrowed from citizen.org]

A new bill, euphemistically entitled the “FDA Food Safety Modernization Act” (S. 510), would cost Americans $825 billion in 2010, yet does not address the root causes of food safety problems in the U.S.

The House of Representatives version of this bill, H.R. 2749, originally failed by a vote in the House yet was brought back and passed (the same week) under different rules.

If this Senate version passes, it would:

--Undermine DSHEA and move the U.S. one step closer to harmonizing its standards under the Codex Alimentarius with those of restrictive regimes like the European Union. (DSHEA, or the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, says that supplements are food and are safe for consumption unless proven otherwise – ensuring that millions of Americans are able to enjoy access to safe, effective and affordable dietary supplements).

--Give the FDA inappropriate, and unprecedented, control over farms and direct-to-consumer distributors. If passed, the law would charge facilities an annual $500 registration fee, require redundant record keeping, and expand the FDA´s authority to quarantine geographic areas for alleged food safety problems – all without significantly improving food safety.

--Harm U.S. organic farmers by imposing overlapping regulations.

--Hurt food supplements and health food stores and waste taxpayer dollars by imposing standards that are already covered by the AER (Adverse Event Reporting) Law, cGMPs (current Good Manufacturing Practices) and food facility registration.

--Cripple local food co-ops, farm stands, independent ranchers and artisanal food producers by imposing unnecessary standards and prohibitively expensive bureaucratic burdens.

Clearly, S. 510, while claiming to increase food safety, would actually leave consumers more vulnerable to food-borne diseases since the FDA would be required to use a mathematical, algorithm-centered, risk-based food safety system called HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) rather than doing old-fashioned and effective physical, on-site inspections in plants, factory farms and slaughterhouses, where the actual food safety concerns are.

Furthermore, the U.S. has abrogated its duty to inspect and enforce food safety standards, both here and abroad, by allowing processing plants to regulate themselves under the failed HACCP system. It has embraced policies that have driven independent U.S. farmers and ranchers out of business and replaced them with corporate-owned, industrialized food production units that are known to cut food safety corners to maximize corporate profits.

Please visit citizens.org to write a letter to your Senators expressing opposition to the bill!

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