(2010) S 510 The Food Safety Modernization Act and Senator Richard Burr…Heads UP Forsyth County!

On November 16, 2010

The feared Lame Duck Congressional session is up and running.  Debate and voting on The Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510) is set to begin on the Senate floor on November 17th.  This bill would amplify FDA inspections of food facilities, give the agency mandatory recall authority, massively increase regulatory authority/fees, impose restrictions on seed storage and cleaning regulations and so on.

Senator Richard Burr is a co-sponsor of the bill.  If Richard Burr is YOUR senator, if you consume locally grown food products, if you cannot afford higher food prices, or if you are a farmer…YOU need to read this article.

Constitutionally this bill is a train wreck.  Section 404 (scroll to end) further subjugates sovereignty of the United States food supply to foreign entities.

Nothing in this Act (or an amendment made by this Act) shall be construed in a manner inconsistent with the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization or any other treaty or international agreement to which the United States is a party.

Canadian Health whistle blower, Dr. Shiv Chopra calls S 510 “the most offensive authority against the cultivation, trade and consumption of food and agricultural products of one’s choice.”  He goes on to call the bill “unconstitutional” and “contrary to natural law.”

The Constitution aside, this bill is a train wreck for farmers.  According to the National Independent Consumers and Farmers Association (NICFA):

“”S-510 will have the unintended destructive consequence of eliminating small farms and consumer access to local food.  The main threats to food safety – by the government’s own admission – are centralized production, centralized processing and long distance transportation.  The food safety bills will increase these risk factors by further consolidating agriculture into fewer, larger industrial farms through enormous regulatory burdens that small farms cannot endure.  Small farms and farmers markets are an important economic engine, environmental safeguard and national security asset.”

Several NICFA points of contention are pictured below.   All notations reflect my own personal angst.

Unintended consequence

  • Big Govt. Expansion
  • Destabilizes local economies
  • Food Safety Secondary

NICFA Conclusions

The National Coalition of Sustainable Agriculture (NSAC) also sees problems with the bill.  Their concern lies with the “one size fits all” language and the effect of expensive new regulations on family farms.  They support the bill with the addition of  two amendments.  The Tester-Hagan Amendment would improve food safety outcomes by creating size-appropriate requirements and less costly compliance alternatives.  The Managers Amendment provides for a USDA-delivered competitive grants program for food safety training for farmers, small processors and wholesalers, provides more flexibility to minimize the burden of compliance with regulations, minimizes the number of standards, provides exemptions for low/no risk farms, removes certain wildlife-threatening enforcement, and reduces  record keeping/traceability requirements for small farms.  More info here and here.  They do not support the House version of the the bill.

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released their report on 12 Aug 2010.  This report included the previously  mentioned Manager’s Amendment and was reported by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on 18 Dec 2009.  Total cost of this bill tallies out at 3.4 billion not including implementation costs.  This expense will be recouped by assessing fines and fees on farmers.

S 510 Appropriation Plan

Senator Burr’s office was contacted concerning S 510.  His office responded 27 Sept 2010.   According to his letter, farmer’s markets, bake sales, public events, and organizational fundraisers are safe.  Yay.  He mentions support of the Management’s Amendment and Tester-Hagan Amendment that are not currently attached to the bill.  Not once in his letter did he discuss protection of small or medium farms that sell through distribution systems other than direct to consumer.

Senator Burr was given a pass 02 Nov 2010.  The NEW Forsyth County GOP requests that Senator Burr refresh his recollection of  Republican principles & ideals concerning  limited government and  free market as he reconsiders his sponsorship of  S 510.

Reminder to Hagan and Burr….

  • One, extend ALL of the current tax rates for every American.  Do not ignore the smaller government the American people voted for by hitting any American with a tax hike in this economy.
  • Two, do not pass ANY new legislation that spend more money or makes government any bigger.  No massive trillion dollar omnibus spending bill on the way out the door.  No funding for ObamaCare.  No funding for S 510


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