My e-mail inbox is flooded with copies of the wild message about how proposed food safety legislation will kill organic farming:
"PLEASE SPREAD THIS NEWS AND VOICE YOURSELVES NOW! PUT THE JOBS OF THE SENATE ON THE LINE.
"WHO EVER CONTROLS THE WORLD FOOD SUPPLY, CONTROLS US ALL. JUST THINK, MAJOR FARMERS AND YOU ARE NOW FORBIDDEN TO GROW ORGANIC HEALTHY FOOD IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD WITHOUT THE GOVERNMENTS APPROVED PESTICIDES. IT IS CRIMINAL. THEY ARE GETTING READY TO PASS THIS BILL RIGHT NOW. IT IS NOW AGAINST THE LAW TO HAVE A CLEAN BILL OF HEALTH.
"NO MORE ORGANIC GARDENING. SERIOUS!!!!! YOUR HEALTH IS IN JEOPARDY
House H.R. 875
"Senate S 425
"There is an enormous rush to get this into law within the next 2 weeks before people realize what is happening.
"Main backer and lobbyist is (guess who) Monsanto
"Bill will require organic farms to use specific fertilizers and poisonous insect sprays dictated by the newly formed agency to "make sure there is no danger to the public food supply".
"This will include backyard gardens that grow food only for a family and not for sales.
"THIS IS DICTATORSHIP in any way you look at it.
"If this passes then NO more heirloom clean seeds but only Monsanto genetically altered seeds that are now showing up with unexpected diseases in humans.
"There is a video on the subject.
"The name on this outrageous food plan is Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009
"(Really makes it sound like the feds are trying protect us. LIES )
"Let me be crystal clear here......
"This has NOTHING to do with food safety.
"This is only about TOTAL CONTROL by the feds in our lives.
"Get on that phone Monday and burn up the wires.
"Get anyone else you can to do the same thing.
"The House and Senate WILL pass this if they are not massively threatened with loss of their position. They only fear your voice and your vote.
"BOY! WILL PHARMACEUTICAL PROFITS GO THROUGH THE ROOF OR WHAT!!! I THINK I'LL GET UP IN THE MORNING, IF I CAN, AND GO TO THE HOSPITAL TO GET AN ANTI-MUTANT SHOT. THE NUMBER OF HEATH DEFECT AND DISEASE CASES WILL BE WORSE THAN THE NATIONAL DEFICIT.
"AND ONCE AGAIN, FDA COULD CARE LESS..........THEY ARE IN BED TOGETHER.........THANKS TO YOU SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE AND HOUSE. AMERICA JUST GOT CAUGHT SLEEPING AGAIN. CAN YOU SAY DUMB-DOWN?"
Ordinarily, I ignore such rumors, but Ive had two requests to comment on this one:
From Cynthia: "Can you please point me in the right direction on this rumor that the new bill will eliminate organic gardening." From TSR: "Just got an e-mail about the FoodSafety Modernization Act of 2009: HR 875 and Im kind of terrified. I have been checking out many different sources online this does indeed seem to be something to be very scared about and very real."
I have no idea what this is about but it makes no sense to me. My suspicion (based on no evidence, really) is that the message comes from opponents of animal traceability who think that having to track animals will be difficult for small farmers. The food safety bills up before Congress are designed to either redesign the system or fix the FDA (see previous posts). As far as I am concerned, all food producers should be following HACCP safety plans and safety rules should apply to all of them. So I dont see the connection.
Or am I missing something here? If anyone has any idea about what this is about, please enlighten.
Update: the Eating Liberally folks forward this summary of myths and facts:.
MYTH: H.R. 875 "makes it illegal to grow your own garden" and would result in the "criminalization of the backyard gardener."
FACT: There is no language in the bill that would regulate, penalize, or shut down backyard gardens. This bill is focused on ensuring the safety of foods sold in supermarkets.
MYTH: H.R. 875 would mean a "goodbye to farmers markets" because the bill would "require such a burdensome complexity of rules, inspections, licensing, fees, and penalties for each farmer who wishes to sell locally - a fruit stand, at a farmers market."
FACT: There is no language in the bill that would result in farmers markets being regulated, penalized any fines, or shut down. Farmers markets would be able to continue to flourish under the bill. In fact, the bill would insist that imported foods meet strict safety standards to ensure that unsafe imported foods are not competing with locally-grown foods.
MYTH: H.R. 875 would result in the "death of organic farming."
FACT: There is no language in the bill that would stop organic farming. The National Organic Program (NOP) is under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Food Safety Modernization Act only addresses food safety issues under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
MYTH: The bill would implement a national animal ID system.
FACT: There is no language in the bill that would implement a national animal ID system. Animal identification issues are under the jurisdiction of the USDA. The Food Safety Modernization Act addresses issues under the jurisdiction of the FDA.
MYTH: The bill is supported by the large agribusiness industry.
FACT: No large agribusiness companies have expressed support for this bill. This bill is being supported by several Members of Congress who have strong progressive records on issues involving farmers markets, organic farming, and locally-grown foods (Barbara Lee, etc.). Also, H.R. 875 is the only food safety legislation that has been supported by all the major consumer and food safety groups, including:
MYTH: The bill will pass the Congress next week without amendments or debate.
FACT: Food safety legislation has yet to be considered by any Congressional committee.
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