New Food Safety Plan Includes Industry Recommendations

Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced yesterday the Administration’s Food Safety Working Group recommendations to better coordinate and modernize the country’s food safety system.

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President Obama announced the formation of the working group in March. Co-chaired by Secretary Sebelius and Secretary Vilsack, the group was charged with presenting recommendations on how to upgrade U.S. food safety laws, coordinate food safety efforts throughout the government, and ensure laws are enforced. On May 13, the working group held a listening session with participation from states and localities, the food industry, consumer advocates, and other experts.
At yesterday’s briefing, the following recommendations were made:

– By the end of July, FDA will issue commodity-specific draft guidance on preventive controls the industry can implement to reduce the risk of microbial contamination in the production and distribution of tomatoes, melons, and leafy greens. These proposals will help the federal government establish a minimum standard for production across the country. Over the next two years, FDA will seek public comment and work to require adoption of these approaches through regulation.

– Within three months, FDA will issue draft guidance on steps the food industry can take to establish product tracing systems to improve our national capacity for detecting the origins of foodborne illness.

– Within three months, Federal agencies will implement a new incident command system to address outbreaks of foodborne illness. This approach will link all relevant agencies, as well as state and local governments, more effectively, facilitating communication and decision-making in an emergency.

– In July 2009, Federal food safety agencies will ask state and local agencies to update their emergency operations procedures to be consistent with the new Guidelines for Foodborne Disease Outbreak Response soon to be issued by the Council to Improve Foodborne Outbreak Response. Implementation of these guidelines will lead to quicker response, better communication, and better coordination by all federal, state, and local agencies.

– In July 2009, FDA will create a new position, deputy commissioner for foods, to oversee and coordinate its efforts on food, including food safety. This position, reporting to the commissioner, will be empowered to restructure and revitalize FDA’s activities and work with the Food Safety Inspection Service and other agencies in developing a new food safety system.

Click here to see a full list of recommendations.

 

Source: United Fresh Produce Association

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Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

This is scary in so many ways. I can see higher food costs and fewer farmers. I can also imagine the loss of many small farms from this big brother oversight. Corporate farms might as well hand over control to the govt as well. Just like GM and Chrysler.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Southern Tier Farmer you are so right this bill is very scary.
Read below an article on the subject and you will see this bill is designed to put small to middle size farmers out of business.
If you really want to know is more scary than this it is the Clean Water Restoratoion Act of 2009. Here the government will control ALL water and as they have redefined what a watershed is all land around any surface water is will be under their control if this bill is not stopped now!!!
Read the article below. This law was designed so that everyone has to use GMO seeds, tag all animals and it even opens homes for inspection by the “Food police”. Permits for backyard gardeners and every cow on the face of the earth will be required to be swhot up with growth hormone.
FYI, To buy heritage seed in England today you must register with the government to do so.
Oh yeah there is more scary stuff coming soon. Look up CODEX Alimentarias, an act to go into effect Dec. 12, 2009 This food safety act is designed to put the US in complience with CODEX which is tied to the World Trade Organization… Better check that one out NOW!!!
HR 2749: Totalitarian Control of the Food Supply
Food Freedom
June 17, 2009
A new food safety bill is on the fast track in Congress-HR 2749, the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009. The bill needs to be stopped.
HR 2749 gives FDA tremendous power while significantly diminishing existing judicial restraints on actions taken by the agency. The bill would impose a one-size-fits-all regulatory scheme on small farms and local artisanal producers; and it would disproportionately impact their operations for the worse.
HR 2749 does not address underlying causes of food safety problems such as industrial agriculture practices and the consolidation of our food supply. The industrial food system and food imports are badly in need of effective regulation, but the bill does not specifically direct regulation or resources to these areas.
To read a detailed account of the bill, go to: http://www.ftcldf.org/news/news-15june2009.htm
(Read the section on tracing. That is NAIS, isn’t it? – highly disguised yet triggered by the word “trace.” )
Alarming Provisions:
Some of the more alarming provisions in the bill are:
* HR 2749 would impose an annual registration fee of $500 on any “facility” that holds, processes, or manufactures food. [isn’t this every home in the US, every garden?] Although “farms” are exempt, the agency has defined “farm” narrowly. [What is the definition?] And people making foods such as lacto-fermented vegetables, cheeses, or breads would be required to register and pay the fee, which could drive beginning and small producers out of business during difficult economic times. [Yes. There are laws against this corporate-size-destroys-the-little-guy policy, aren’t there? Are home bread or cheese or lacto-fermented vegetable makers who make for their own families included in this?]
* HR 2749 would empower FDA to regulate how crops are raised and harvested. It puts the federal government right on the farm, dictating to our farmers. [This astounding control opens the door to CODEX. WTO “good farming practices” will include the elimination of organic farming by eliminating manure, mandating GMO animal feed, imposing animal drugs, and ordering applications of petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides. Farmers, thus, will be locked not only into the industrialization of once normal and organic farms but into the forced purchase of industry’s products. They will be slaves on the land, doing the work they are ordered to do – against their own best wisdom – and paying out to industry against their will.

There will be no way to be frugal, to grow one’s own grain to feed the animals, to raise healthy animals without GMO grains or drugs, to work with nature at all. Grassfed cattle and poultry and hogs will be finished. So, it’s obvious where control will take us. And weren’t these the “rumors on the internet” that were dismissed but are clearly the case?]
* HR 2749 would give FDA the power to order a quarantine of a geographic area, including “prohibiting or restricting the movement of food or of any vehicle being used or that has been used to transport or hold such food within the geographic area.” [This – “that has been used to transport or hold such food” – would mean all cars that have ever brought groceries home so this means ALL TRANSPORTATION can be shut down under this. This is using food as a cover for martial law.] Under this provision, farmers markets and local food sources could be shut down, even if they are not the source of the contamination. The agency can halt all movement of all food in a geographic area. [This is also a means of total control over the population under the cover of food, and at any time.]
* HR 2749 would empower FDA to make random warrantless searches of the business records of small farmers and local food producers, without any evidence whatsoever that there has been a violation. [If these bills cover all who “hold food” then this allows for taking of records of anyone at any time on no basis at all.] Even farmers selling direct to consumers would have to provide the federal government with records on where they buy supplies, how they raise their crops, and a list of customers.
[NAIS for animals and all other foods?]
* HR 2749 charges the Secretary of Health and Human Services with establishing a tracing system for food. Each “person who produces, manufactures, processes, packs, transports, or holds such food” [Is this not every home in the US?] would have to “maintain the full pedigree of the origin and previous distribution history of the food,” and “establish and maintain a system for tracing the food that is interoperable with the systems established and maintained by other such persons.” The bill does not explain how far the traceback will extend or how it will be done for multi-ingredient foods. With all these ambiguities, [with all these ambiguities, it is dangerous, period, separate from the money] it’s far from clear how much it will cost either the farmers or the taxpayers. [It is massive and absurd and burdensome beyond the capacity of people to comply – is this not fascism? – so it is a set up for being used to impose penalties endlessly and/or to eliminate anyone at will.]
* HR 2749 creates severe criminal and civil penalties, including prison terms of up to 10 years and/or fines of up to $100,000 for each violation for individuals. [Does it include judicial review, Congressional oversight, a defined and limited set of penalties and punishments for a defined set of “crimes”? Or is it entirely ambiguous and left to the whim and sole power of “the Administrator”? Who is that person set to be? Is it Michael Taylor, Monsanto lawyer and executive, as Food Democracy has said? That is, do these bills set up an agency by which the entire US food supply will be turned over to the control of a multinational corporation under WTO regulations (and not to US farmers and not to US laws under the Constitution), with boundless freedom to do what it wants, and one infamous for harm to farmers and lack of safety of food?
If it was not clear before how frightening these bills were, this small section of provisions, should make their actual fascism clear now. It goes way beyond “food safety” to absolute control over farms, animals, food, and us, including our movements and access to food at all.
Action to Take:
Contact your Representative now! Ask to speak with the staffer who handles food issues. Tell them you are opposed to the bill. Some points to make in telling your Representative why you oppose HR 2749 include:
1. The bill imposes burdensome requirements while not specifically targeting the industrial food system and food imports, where the real food safety problems lie.
2. Small farms and local food processors are part of the solution to food safety; lessening the regulatory burden on them will improve food safety.
3. The bill gives FDA much more power than it has had in the past while making the agency less accountable for its actions.
HR 2749 needs to be defeated!! Please take action NOW.
To contact your Representative, use the finder tool at http://www.Congress.org or send a message through the petition system (the petition will be on our website this evening) athttp://www.ftcldf.org/petitions_new.htm. Or call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
To check the status of HR 2749, go to http://www.Thomas.gov and type “HR 2749″ in the bill search field.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Why are various industries always against any attemps to protect the public. It seems it would be better to not have an incident than to be sued afterward. Are their lawyers so good as to be cheaper than doing the right thing to start with. This is another big scare tactic by big industry to pad their pockets. Constantly bringing up the fear of losing small farms is a joke. The industry is already doing everything it can to destroy small farms anyway.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

This HR 2749 is the worst bill a farmer wants. This will put alot of farmers out of business.
Why do you not check all imports coming into this Country. Do you check each farmer and farmers’
farms and their records outside of the USA? Do you
check their spray records and all other records as you do with the USA Farmers? There is more I will
save for another date.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Doris E. You are right on! Any company importing any product into the USA from a source that does not have to abide by the same Govt. regulations as American made products should be arrested for BOOTLEGGING.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Doris: FYI although not all or in fact very little of food imported into the US is actually inspected it IS true that more imported food DOES get inspected than food produced here in the USA.
I worked for many years on farms in Central America and I can tell you without a doubt that they ARE inspected and they MUST be certified to export to the US. I personally developed internal controls on several farms that were accepted by US and European certification programs so those producers’ food could be exported to both the US and EEU.
I have never understood why farms in the US are not inspected.
You can be sure that the new food safety bill will NOT increase the safety of the US food supply. It will ONLY benefit the mega farmers and companies like Monsanto et al….

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

The problem with food safety is it wreaks with political correctness. It is so politically correct in that food safety is described as non-negotiable, doesn’t this sound good to the public? So guess who will have to comply and bare 100% of the expense? You guessed it the farmer. So, it looks like bat down the hatches, get ready to pay more for your food supply, and last but not least, bye, bye, small farmer, you’ve just been priced out of the game. Oh by the way, what is the plan for China and Mexico to comply or do they have to???

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Underground Farmer Yes Bye-Bey to the small farms.
This is such an intrusive law that it will be illegal for those farmers who want to save their non GMO seed that they will not be allowed to do so. Why is this? It relates back to the seed cleaning machines used to process the raw seed!!Want to save your seed? You have to buy a new seed cleaning machine to do so. Don’t believe it? Check it out. Some one must have stayed up really late one night to come up with that one! Also this gives the Federal Government the right to come on your land without warrent or notice. The fines the law will place upon small producers will force them out of business in DAYS!!!!
As for Mexico and China? China is probably already compliant as they irridate ALL of their export produce and fruit. This is why strawberries shipped from China to Europe make the 30 day trip without spoiling.And also why the local strawberry farmers in Europe are alomst all gone. Of course we know how well irridqation works here seeing the last beef recall was 5,000,000 pounds. I thought all beef is irridiated here. That’s why there are no more meat inspectors in the packing houses any more.
Don’t worry about Mexico. We are all now brothers in the North American Union. I am sure we can all rest assuered that all the food coming from Mexico will be totally safe for human consumption due to the new food safety law.
If you have any doubt about the NAU look at the packaging the next time you buy hamberger at the store. I bet you will be supprised to see it is labeled “Product of USA Canada Mexico”.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

For those of you who have been reading all the comments on this vital topic you need to know that this bill HR2749 could be voted on today July 29, 2009.
It is being rushed through the House and will not be debated vetted or discussed or even allowed to have amendments put on it. WHY???? If this passes everyone must ask that question of their House Rep.
I just found out that this could be voted on today. I pray that many readers will see this comment and contact their House of Representitives Rep and PLEASE tell them to vote NO on this draconian legislation.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

This is scary in so many ways. I can see higher food costs and fewer farmers. I can also imagine the loss of many small farms from this big brother oversight. Corporate farms might as well hand over control to the govt as well. Just like GM and Chrysler.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Southern Tier Farmer you are so right this bill is very scary.
Read below an article on the subject and you will see this bill is designed to put small to middle size farmers out of business.
If you really want to know is more scary than this it is the Clean Water Restoratoion Act of 2009. Here the government will control ALL water and as they have redefined what a watershed is all land around any surface water is will be under their control if this bill is not stopped now!!!
Read the article below. This law was designed so that everyone has to use GMO seeds, tag all animals and it even opens homes for inspection by the “Food police”. Permits for backyard gardeners and every cow on the face of the earth will be required to be swhot up with growth hormone.
FYI, To buy heritage seed in England today you must register with the government to do so.
Oh yeah there is more scary stuff coming soon. Look up CODEX Alimentarias, an act to go into effect Dec. 12, 2009 This food safety act is designed to put the US in complience with CODEX which is tied to the World Trade Organization… Better check that one out NOW!!!
HR 2749: Totalitarian Control of the Food Supply
Food Freedom
June 17, 2009
A new food safety bill is on the fast track in Congress-HR 2749, the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009. The bill needs to be stopped.
HR 2749 gives FDA tremendous power while significantly diminishing existing judicial restraints on actions taken by the agency. The bill would impose a one-size-fits-all regulatory scheme on small farms and local artisanal producers; and it would disproportionately impact their operations for the worse.
HR 2749 does not address underlying causes of food safety problems such as industrial agriculture practices and the consolidation of our food supply. The industrial food system and food imports are badly in need of effective regulation, but the bill does not specifically direct regulation or resources to these areas.
To read a detailed account of the bill, go to: http://www.ftcldf.org/news/news-15june2009.htm
(Read the section on tracing. That is NAIS, isn’t it? – highly disguised yet triggered by the word “trace.” )
Alarming Provisions:
Some of the more alarming provisions in the bill are:
* HR 2749 would impose an annual registration fee of $500 on any “facility” that holds, processes, or manufactures food. [isn’t this every home in the US, every garden?] Although “farms” are exempt, the agency has defined “farm” narrowly. [What is the definition?] And people making foods such as lacto-fermented vegetables, cheeses, or breads would be required to register and pay the fee, which could drive beginning and small producers out of business during difficult economic times. [Yes. There are laws against this corporate-size-destroys-the-little-guy policy, aren’t there? Are home bread or cheese or lacto-fermented vegetable makers who make for their own families included in this?]
* HR 2749 would empower FDA to regulate how crops are raised and harvested. It puts the federal government right on the farm, dictating to our farmers. [This astounding control opens the door to CODEX. WTO “good farming practices” will include the elimination of organic farming by eliminating manure, mandating GMO animal feed, imposing animal drugs, and ordering applications of petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides. Farmers, thus, will be locked not only into the industrialization of once normal and organic farms but into the forced purchase of industry’s products. They will be slaves on the land, doing the work they are ordered to do – against their own best wisdom – and paying out to industry against their will.

There will be no way to be frugal, to grow one’s own grain to feed the animals, to raise healthy animals without GMO grains or drugs, to work with nature at all. Grassfed cattle and poultry and hogs will be finished. So, it’s obvious where control will take us. And weren’t these the “rumors on the internet” that were dismissed but are clearly the case?]
* HR 2749 would give FDA the power to order a quarantine of a geographic area, including “prohibiting or restricting the movement of food or of any vehicle being used or that has been used to transport or hold such food within the geographic area.” [This – “that has been used to transport or hold such food” – would mean all cars that have ever brought groceries home so this means ALL TRANSPORTATION can be shut down under this. This is using food as a cover for martial law.] Under this provision, farmers markets and local food sources could be shut down, even if they are not the source of the contamination. The agency can halt all movement of all food in a geographic area. [This is also a means of total control over the population under the cover of food, and at any time.]
* HR 2749 would empower FDA to make random warrantless searches of the business records of small farmers and local food producers, without any evidence whatsoever that there has been a violation. [If these bills cover all who “hold food” then this allows for taking of records of anyone at any time on no basis at all.] Even farmers selling direct to consumers would have to provide the federal government with records on where they buy supplies, how they raise their crops, and a list of customers.
[NAIS for animals and all other foods?]
* HR 2749 charges the Secretary of Health and Human Services with establishing a tracing system for food. Each “person who produces, manufactures, processes, packs, transports, or holds such food” [Is this not every home in the US?] would have to “maintain the full pedigree of the origin and previous distribution history of the food,” and “establish and maintain a system for tracing the food that is interoperable with the systems established and maintained by other such persons.” The bill does not explain how far the traceback will extend or how it will be done for multi-ingredient foods. With all these ambiguities, [with all these ambiguities, it is dangerous, period, separate from the money] it’s far from clear how much it will cost either the farmers or the taxpayers. [It is massive and absurd and burdensome beyond the capacity of people to comply – is this not fascism? – so it is a set up for being used to impose penalties endlessly and/or to eliminate anyone at will.]
* HR 2749 creates severe criminal and civil penalties, including prison terms of up to 10 years and/or fines of up to $100,000 for each violation for individuals. [Does it include judicial review, Congressional oversight, a defined and limited set of penalties and punishments for a defined set of “crimes”? Or is it entirely ambiguous and left to the whim and sole power of “the Administrator”? Who is that person set to be? Is it Michael Taylor, Monsanto lawyer and executive, as Food Democracy has said? That is, do these bills set up an agency by which the entire US food supply will be turned over to the control of a multinational corporation under WTO regulations (and not to US farmers and not to US laws under the Constitution), with boundless freedom to do what it wants, and one infamous for harm to farmers and lack of safety of food?
If it was not clear before how frightening these bills were, this small section of provisions, should make their actual fascism clear now. It goes way beyond “food safety” to absolute control over farms, animals, food, and us, including our movements and access to food at all.
Action to Take:
Contact your Representative now! Ask to speak with the staffer who handles food issues. Tell them you are opposed to the bill. Some points to make in telling your Representative why you oppose HR 2749 include:
1. The bill imposes burdensome requirements while not specifically targeting the industrial food system and food imports, where the real food safety problems lie.
2. Small farms and local food processors are part of the solution to food safety; lessening the regulatory burden on them will improve food safety.
3. The bill gives FDA much more power than it has had in the past while making the agency less accountable for its actions.
HR 2749 needs to be defeated!! Please take action NOW.
To contact your Representative, use the finder tool at http://www.Congress.org or send a message through the petition system (the petition will be on our website this evening) athttp://www.ftcldf.org/petitions_new.htm. Or call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
To check the status of HR 2749, go to http://www.Thomas.gov and type “HR 2749″ in the bill search field.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Why are various industries always against any attemps to protect the public. It seems it would be better to not have an incident than to be sued afterward. Are their lawyers so good as to be cheaper than doing the right thing to start with. This is another big scare tactic by big industry to pad their pockets. Constantly bringing up the fear of losing small farms is a joke. The industry is already doing everything it can to destroy small farms anyway.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

This HR 2749 is the worst bill a farmer wants. This will put alot of farmers out of business.
Why do you not check all imports coming into this Country. Do you check each farmer and farmers’
farms and their records outside of the USA? Do you
check their spray records and all other records as you do with the USA Farmers? There is more I will
save for another date.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Doris E. You are right on! Any company importing any product into the USA from a source that does not have to abide by the same Govt. regulations as American made products should be arrested for BOOTLEGGING.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Doris: FYI although not all or in fact very little of food imported into the US is actually inspected it IS true that more imported food DOES get inspected than food produced here in the USA.
I worked for many years on farms in Central America and I can tell you without a doubt that they ARE inspected and they MUST be certified to export to the US. I personally developed internal controls on several farms that were accepted by US and European certification programs so those producers’ food could be exported to both the US and EEU.
I have never understood why farms in the US are not inspected.
You can be sure that the new food safety bill will NOT increase the safety of the US food supply. It will ONLY benefit the mega farmers and companies like Monsanto et al….

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

The problem with food safety is it wreaks with political correctness. It is so politically correct in that food safety is described as non-negotiable, doesn’t this sound good to the public? So guess who will have to comply and bare 100% of the expense? You guessed it the farmer. So, it looks like bat down the hatches, get ready to pay more for your food supply, and last but not least, bye, bye, small farmer, you’ve just been priced out of the game. Oh by the way, what is the plan for China and Mexico to comply or do they have to???

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

Underground Farmer Yes Bye-Bey to the small farms.
This is such an intrusive law that it will be illegal for those farmers who want to save their non GMO seed that they will not be allowed to do so. Why is this? It relates back to the seed cleaning machines used to process the raw seed!!Want to save your seed? You have to buy a new seed cleaning machine to do so. Don’t believe it? Check it out. Some one must have stayed up really late one night to come up with that one! Also this gives the Federal Government the right to come on your land without warrent or notice. The fines the law will place upon small producers will force them out of business in DAYS!!!!
As for Mexico and China? China is probably already compliant as they irridate ALL of their export produce and fruit. This is why strawberries shipped from China to Europe make the 30 day trip without spoiling.And also why the local strawberry farmers in Europe are alomst all gone. Of course we know how well irridqation works here seeing the last beef recall was 5,000,000 pounds. I thought all beef is irridiated here. That’s why there are no more meat inspectors in the packing houses any more.
Don’t worry about Mexico. We are all now brothers in the North American Union. I am sure we can all rest assuered that all the food coming from Mexico will be totally safe for human consumption due to the new food safety law.
If you have any doubt about the NAU look at the packaging the next time you buy hamberger at the store. I bet you will be supprised to see it is labeled “Product of USA Canada Mexico”.

Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous says:

For those of you who have been reading all the comments on this vital topic you need to know that this bill HR2749 could be voted on today July 29, 2009.
It is being rushed through the House and will not be debated vetted or discussed or even allowed to have amendments put on it. WHY???? If this passes everyone must ask that question of their House Rep.
I just found out that this could be voted on today. I pray that many readers will see this comment and contact their House of Representitives Rep and PLEASE tell them to vote NO on this draconian legislation.