SAVE ORGANIC FARMS and stop the Food Safety Modernization Act (H.R. 875) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 03-12-2009, 02:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just heard about this and how it could be detrimental to small farmers (i.e. your CSA) and Farmer's Markets. In fact, it seems like it could be the end of them, must like the CSPIA could have put all small toy businesses out of business. PLEASE contact your congressman and tell them to vote no on this bill!

The actual bill: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-875

Not much in the news, but some blog posts on the issue:

http://www.campaignforliberty.com/blog.php?view=12671

http://ecochildsplay.com/2009/03/10/...organic-farms/

http://heartkeepercommonroom.blogspo...ily-farms.html

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#2 of 25 Old 03-15-2009, 10:56 AM
 
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If this passes, we are well on our way to implementing Codex Alimentarius.
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#3 of 25 Old 03-15-2009, 11:26 AM
 
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I'm not sure HR 875 is as dangerous as I'm seeing people talk about. Here is what was posted on a University Food list that I'm on. THe folks on it are all part of the sustainable agriculture world. This came from Food & Water Watch and I usually trust their take:

Food & Water Watch’ s Statement on H.R. 875 and the Food Safety Bills



The dilemma of how to regulate food safety in a way that prevents problems caused by industrialized agriculture but doesn’t wipe out small diversified farms is not new and is not easily solved. And as almost constant food safety problems reveal the dirty truth about the way much of our food is produced, processed and distributed, it’s a dilemma we need to have serious discussion about.

Most consumers never thought they had to worry about peanut butter and this latest food safety scandal has captured public attention for good reason – a CEO who knowingly shipped contaminated food, a plant with holes in the roof and serious pest problems, and years of state and federal regulators failing to intervene.

It’s no surprise that Congress is under pressure to act and multiple food safety bills have been introduced.

Two of the bills are about traceability for food (S.425 and H.R. 814). These present real issues for small producers who could be forced to bear the cost of expensive tracking technology and recordkeeping.

The other bills address what FDA can do to regulate food.

A lot of attention has been focused on a bill introduced by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (H.R. 875), the Food Safety Modernization Act. And a lot of what is being said about the bill is misleading.

Here are a few things that H.R. 875 DOES do:

-It addresses the most critical flaw in the structure of FDA by splitting it into 2 new agencies –one devoted to food safety and the other devoted to drugs and medical devices.

-It increases inspection of food processing plants, basing the frequency of inspection on the risk of the product being produced – but it does NOT make plants pay any registration fees or user fees.

-It does extend food safety agency authority to food production on farms, requiring farms to write a food safety plan and consider the critical points on that farm where food safety problems are likely to occur.

-It requires imported food to meet the same standards as food produced in the U.S.

And just as importantly, here are a few things that H.R. 875 does NOT do:

-It does not cover foods regulated by the USDA (beef, pork, poultry, lamb, catfish.)

-It does not establish a mandatory animal identification system.

-It does not regulate backyard gardens.

-It does not regulate seed.

-It does not call for new regulations for farmers markets or direct marketing arrangements.

-It does not apply to food that does not enter interstate commerce (food that is sold across state lines).

-It does not mandate any specific type of traceability for FDA-regulated foods (the bill does instruct a new food safety agency to improve traceability of foods, but specifically says that recordkeeping can be done electronically or on paper.)


Several of the things not found in the DeLauro can be found in other bills – like H.R. 814, the Tracing and Recalling Agricultural Contamination Everywhere Act, which calls for a mandatory animal identification system, or H.R. 759, the Food And Drug Administration Globalization Act, which overhauls the entire structure of FDA. H.R. 759 is more likely to move through Congress than H.R. 875. And H.R. 759 contains several provisions that could cause problems for small farms and food processors:

-It extends traceability recordkeeping requirements that currently apply only to food processors to farms and restaurants – and requires that recordkeeping be done electronically.

-It calls for standard lot numbers to be used in food production.

-It requires food processing plants to pay a registration fee to FDA to fund the agency’s inspection efforts.

-It instructs FDA to establish production standards for fruits and vegetables and to establish Good Agricultural Practices for produce.

There is plenty of evidence that one-size-fits-all regulation only tends to work for one size of agriculture – the largest industrialized operations. That’s why it is important to let members of Congress know how food safety proposals will impact the conservation, organic, and sustainable practices that make diversified, organic, and direct market producers different from agribusiness. And the work doesn’t stop there – if Congress passes any of these bills, the FDA will have to develop rules and regulations to implement the law, a process that we can’t afford to ignore.

But simply shooting down any attempt to fix our broken food safety system is not an approach that works for consumers, who are faced with a food supply that is putting them at risk and regulators who lack the authority to do much about it.

You can read the full text of any of these bills at http://thomas.loc.gov <http://thomas.loc.gov>
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#4 of 25 Old 03-21-2009, 01:27 PM
 
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actually it IS bad, but here is a link w/ the myths and facts

http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/?p=2287

PLEASE WRITE TO YOUR CONGRESSMAN, tell him/her you are against it! We NEED to ACT NOW!

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#5 of 25 Old 03-21-2009, 05:09 PM
 
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-It does not regulate backyard gardens.

...

-It does not call for new regulations for farmers markets or direct marketing arrangements.
Actually, it does.

It would regulate backyard gardens if the food is picked, then transported for sale. In my area, many backyard gardeners sell their excess produce to locally owned health food stores, restaurants and at the community booth at the farmers market. So, because it's transported - it would be subject to these regulations.

And, it would DEFINITELY affect farmers markets and direct marketing arrangements. While it doesn't regulate farmers markets directly, it regulates how farmers can transport their goods which indirectly affects farmers markets. My husband and I run a farmers market and each and everyone of our growers and ranchers would be effected and, therefore, our market would be effected.

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#6 of 25 Old 03-21-2009, 05:34 PM
 
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Disclaimer: I work in produce food safety. I understand that I am biased.

Everyone that produces food should be concerned about food safety. Everyone. Just because you are a backyard producer does not exempt you from the responsibility to ensure that your product is safe when you make the decision to provide your product to the public.

A food safety plan and traceability are not difficult to implement at all. Now sure, I say this because I do this every single day, but really, I work a lot with very small organic producers all the time. I was with one yesterday. This is not asking a lot. A risk analysis takes about 30 minutes to complete. A traceability system takes a clipboard and one of those stamps that has 12 rotating numbers. It is about keeping track of what product you sell to who. You are only responsible for tracking product one step back and one step forward. If small producers are confused about the process there are thousands of resources on the web, many of them free, or they can work with a company like mine or our competition to learn what they need to learn.

There is nothing about being a small or organic producer that eliminates food safety risk. The locovore movement is pretty big out here, but I don't know any of our local retailers that feature local product that hasn't passed through their food safety hurdles already. A retailer would be taking a big risk with their own brand if they offered a product that they couldn't authoritatively say has been produced safely.

Also, the organic standard is way more thorough and records intensive than any food safety program, so I think certified organic producers certainly are barking up the wrong tree with claiming that this puts an undue burden on them for record keeping.
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#7 of 25 Old 03-22-2009, 10:17 AM
 
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Traceability (National Animal Identification System) and other programs being implemented in the name of food safety ARE terribly difficult to implement and expensive. Plus, NAIS has nothing to do with food safety. Food contamination does not happen on the farm. If inspections were done properly, including properly staffed, then sick animals would not be entering the food system. An animal with systemic e.coli is very sick, and would be considered a "downer," animal. E.coli is a natural bacteria in part of the digestive tract. But when it's found elsewhere in the body it makes the individual extremely sick.

More than 90% of food borne illness is introduced at the processing plant, after the NAIS tag is removed. Therefore, NAIS is not part of the food safety protocol. Plus, most of the contamination that has been found has been in food that was either grown or processed in "mega farms" and "plants." These farms are exempt from tagging and tracking individual animals, only by lots of thousands of pigs or chickens. These are the animals most likely to be sickened with bird flu, or other diseases, not free-range or sustainably raised animals, but those small scale farmers must incur costs of individual tags, applicators, replacement tags, readers, and the unknown cost of every report needed.

Imagine if you had to report to the government every time your child went away from home, met another child, lost his/her shoe, or disappeared. That is what is being asked of farmers- to report every time an animal gets an eartag, or loses one and gets it replaced. Every time that animal disappears, mates with an animal from a different farm, goes to a school for show and tell, or to the county fair for a livestock show. It's not as easy as writing down a piece of paper. The tags hurt, and are not appropriate for all species. Chickens and some goats have no ear flaps, or small ones. Goats are designed to find their food in front of their faces, grab first, think about it later. That means injured ears all the time, and that means infection, which means anti-biotics. That means either let the animal get sick, drink anti-biotic tainted milk, or throw the milk away. Why have a dairy goat if you can't drink the milk?

The tags are also hackable, as teenage boys demonstrated two years ago with a cell phone, changing every ID number to the same in a herd of a hundred + beef cattle.

This is not inventory control like you would find in a warehouse. These are living, feeling creatures and the business of livestock means that animals misbehave, mate and usually go to some sort of show or sales arena. These are reportable events, requiring high speed Broadband computer service. This is not available in many parts of Rural America.

The food safety issue is important, too import to be lulled into a fall sense of security. I believe that people working on the forefront of food safety want the best for the people, but so do most small farmers. It's the industrial food system that is the problem, yet they invented this program knowing that they would be exempt from the most cumbersome parts and would corner the market by putting small producers out of business.

Proper inspection by informed, unbiased professionals, adequate education and support for the farmer, scale-sensitive regulations are the best way to assure safe food. Usually the best food is found locally from sustainable farmer. NAIS and other approaches do nothing to support the aim of food safety or animal health. They are about controlling inventory and minimizing corporate competition.
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#8 of 25 Old 03-28-2009, 05:29 PM
 
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bumping for added petitions:



http://www.leavemyfoodalone.org/forward-this-petition

www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h875/

"When the external begins to define the internal, instead of the internal defining the external, one begins living as a mortal rather than as a universal being." ~ unknown
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#9 of 25 Old 03-28-2009, 07:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by rhiandmoi View Post
Disclaimer: I work in produce food safety. I understand that I am biased.

Everyone that produces food should be concerned about food safety. Everyone. Just because you are a backyard producer does not exempt you from the responsibility to ensure that your product is safe when you make the decision to provide your product to the public.

A food safety plan and traceability are not difficult to implement at all. Now sure, I say this because I do this every single day, but really, I work a lot with very small organic producers all the time. I was with one yesterday. This is not asking a lot. A risk analysis takes about 30 minutes to complete. A traceability system takes a clipboard and one of those stamps that has 12 rotating numbers. It is about keeping track of what product you sell to who. You are only responsible for tracking product one step back and one step forward. If small producers are confused about the process there are thousands of resources on the web, many of them free, or they can work with a company like mine or our competition to learn what they need to learn.

There is nothing about being a small or organic producer that eliminates food safety risk. The locovore movement is pretty big out here, but I don't know any of our local retailers that feature local product that hasn't passed through their food safety hurdles already. A retailer would be taking a big risk with their own brand if they offered a product that they couldn't authoritatively say has been produced safely.

Also, the organic standard is way more thorough and records intensive than any food safety program, so I think certified organic producers certainly are barking up the wrong tree with claiming that this puts an undue burden on them for record keeping.
The way I see it, these laws are in place because of the way that food conglomerates approach the industry - and that way is very different from the way that small, local farms do.

When the producer is so many steps removed from the consumer, and when their product is a commodity sold at the lowest price (also competing with subsidized transport of foods from other, cheaper, countries), it's natural to cut as many corners as possible. And here is why food safety must be governed.

But when I go to my local farm, it's different. Lisa and Chuck are eager to tell me what's being harvested next. Amy invites me to go out back and say hi to the cows. DH and I shake their hands. DD plays with the barnyard cat. They are all committed to safe, sustainable growing. They spend more effort and care producing their organic plants. They are commited to local growth and buy from their own neighbors, and also sell their neighbors wares (honey, maple syrup, fresh baked bread, etc.). They would be horrified if my family suffered any harm from any of their methods.

I'm not saying small farms are never the culprit of any food borne illnesses or other problems - but they are certainly less likely to be that culprit.

Personally I'd rather take my chances - and go and see how Lisa and Chuck do their thing, and develop my TRUST with them - than to see them go out of business trying to keep up with regulations that don't even really apply to them or help anybody. Then what do I do? Back to the grocery store, buying food from I don't know where, grown by I don't know who, just food grown by machine to be sold to the highest (low) bid.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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#10 of 25 Old 03-28-2009, 09:46 PM
 
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The way I see it, these laws are in place because of the way that food conglomerates approach the industry - and that way is very different from the way that small, local farms do.

When the producer is so many steps removed from the consumer, and when their product is a commodity sold at the lowest price (also competing with subsidized transport of foods from other, cheaper, countries), it's natural to cut as many corners as possible. And here is why food safety must be governed.

But when I go to my local farm, it's different. Lisa and Chuck are eager to tell me what's being harvested next. Amy invites me to go out back and say hi to the cows. DH and I shake their hands. DD plays with the barnyard cat. They are all committed to safe, sustainable growing. They spend more effort and care producing their organic plants. They are commited to local growth and buy from their own neighbors, and also sell their neighbors wares (honey, maple syrup, fresh baked bread, etc.). They would be horrified if my family suffered any harm from any of their methods.

I'm not saying small farms are never the culprit of any food borne illnesses or other problems - but they are certainly less likely to be that culprit.

Personally I'd rather take my chances - and go and see how Lisa and Chuck do their thing, and develop my TRUST with them - than to see them go out of business trying to keep up with regulations that don't even really apply to them or help anybody. Then what do I do? Back to the grocery store, buying food from I don't know where, grown by I don't know who, just food grown by machine to be sold to the highest (low) bid.
I agree with you. If something does happen to you regarding food borne illnesses you take it up with them personally. It's your responsiblity from there. The way it should be.
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#11 of 25 Old 03-31-2009, 11:21 AM
 
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Does it not freak anyone out that the lobby behind this massive bill that will effect farmers-and organics is Monsanto? Seriously that negates any use and good of the "safety" in my mind. Let us follow the money and get real here people! This is a major way to control public -food- how it's grown and produced. I encourage everyone to look deeper into the backing behind the bill because this will end up being like the lead "safety" act that is still not resolved from hurting small owners producing toys and childrens items in the states. I hope you will all take this very seriously

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#12 of 25 Old 03-31-2009, 12:02 PM
 
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Does it not freak anyone out that the lobby behind this massive bill that will effect farmers-and organics if Monsanto? Seriously that negates any use and good of the "safety" in my mind. Let us follow the money and get real here people! This is a major way to control public- food- how's it's grown and produced. I encourage everyone to look deeper into the backing behind the bill because this will end up being like the lead "safety" act that is still not resolved from hurting small owners producing toys and childrens items in the states. I hope you will all take this very seriously


Yes. And also, what else would they do to our food if this passes... add vaccinations or ??? Freaks me RIGHT out.

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#13 of 25 Old 03-31-2009, 02:01 PM
 
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Does it not freak anyone out that the lobby behind this massive bill that will effect farmers-and organics is Monsanto? Seriously that negates any use and good of the "safety" in my mind. Let us follow the money and get real here people! This is a major way to control public -food- how it's grown and produced. I encourage everyone to look deeper into the backing behind the bill because this will end up being like the lead "safety" act that is still not resolved from hurting small owners producing toys and childrens items in the states. I hope you will all take this very seriously

Exactly.


This has NOTHING to do with food safety.
This is only about TOTAL CONTROL by the feds in our lives.

Nowhere in this bill does it state it applies only to food for re-sale...............it refers to all food grown anywhere - including in our own gardens.

Our capacity to feed ourselves without poisonous chemicals and genetically engineered foods is at stake. Imagine that we would not be permitted even to organicially garden in our own backyard. You may be subject to $1,000,000 in finds if you do not tell the government about ever stick of celery you plant.

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

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#14 of 25 Old 03-31-2009, 03:21 PM
 
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This has NOTHING to do with food safety.
This is only about TOTAL CONTROL by the feds in our lives.
I agree, but I tend to emphasize the control by CORPORATIONS - and the fed just being corporate puppets.

DH and I talk about moving to Canada more and more often.

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#15 of 25 Old 03-31-2009, 07:36 PM
 
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Everyone should have thought about stuff like this BEFORE they voted for Obama. I'm not looking forward to the next 4 (8?) years. You're going to see more and more bills like this.

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#16 of 25 Old 03-31-2009, 09:44 PM
 
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Everyone should have thought about stuff like this BEFORE they voted for Obama. I'm not looking forward to the next 4 (8?) years. You're going to see more and more bills like this.
Obama is just a puppet. It doesn't matter who is president, this would still take place and have been planned to for some time now. It is the people in control who have say, and they want to control our lives.

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#17 of 25 Old 04-02-2009, 12:11 PM
 
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Obama is just a puppet. It doesn't matter who is president, this would still take place and have been planned to for some time now. It is the people in control who have say, and they want to control our lives.
ITA.


It just got this email from a list serv im on

Quote:
"I had a call last night from the Organic Consumers Association http://www.organicconsumers.org/ .

They said they are watching this bill closely, that it is an exaggeration to say that Monsanto is pushing it (though you have to wonder!), and that there is a lot of good in the bill. They have not yet taken a position on the bill because it does have good as well as bad. OCA is an organization I generally trust on issues such as this one, as they advocate for small/local/organic farmers etc.

I am waiting for updates from them on this issue; they will probably send out an action alert.



But it never hurts to let your Congress(wo)men know of your interest in protecting organic agriculture!"
Just wanted to throw that out there.
I tend to agree with others that it does sound like Monsanto is lobbying this. Corporations like these are the dominant ones in our country. The feds would like to think they are
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#18 of 25 Old 04-04-2009, 12:24 AM
 
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Does it not freak anyone out that the lobby behind this massive bill that will effect farmers-and organics is Monsanto? Seriously that negates any use and good of the "safety" in my mind. Let us follow the money and get real here people! This is a major way to control public -food- how it's grown and produced. I encourage everyone to look deeper into the backing behind the bill because this will end up being like the lead "safety" act that is still not resolved from hurting small owners producing toys and childrens items in the states. I hope you will all take this very seriously
:

You are right on. The woman who is behind this bill, her husband works for Monsanto. Coincidence, I don't think so. I don't know about any of you, but one thing I avoid like the plague is GMO food, if I can help it, and if Monsanto is involved then you know this will benefit the whole GMO industry in the name of "food safety." I've written my representatives many times about this bill, and I will continue to write to them to stop it.

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#19 of 25 Old 04-04-2009, 11:01 AM
 
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I've really tried to understand this bill on my own but reading it : Im really trying to understand it. There are many people outraged and many people not that worried that are involved in small organic business. I want to be outraged (because I really dislike our government ) but I also want to understand why these other families that own organic farms aren't. So, im trying to read the bill myself and am having a very hard time. HELP! Explain to me the section that are threatening. Because really, I can not understand it


After rereading this, sorry for all the understand its. Its early here and I've yet to drink my coffee
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#20 of 25 Old 04-04-2009, 02:08 PM
 
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I posted this on my myspace bulletin.

The actual bill:
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-875

myths vs facts:
http://www.healthfreedomusa.org/?p=2287


Within like 30 minutes I clicked on the link and it was DELETED with Myspace saying that the link was not accesable because : It was "naughty", I wasn't allowed to use the link and someone was trying to hack my password?

WTH?
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#21 of 25 Old 04-13-2009, 04:02 PM
 
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I've recently subscribed to a local organic delivery service in San Francisco. I want to encourage you to do the same as its the most effective way for us non-farmers to contribute to organic farming. The site is www.AlbertEve.com and they home deliver organic fruit and veggy boxes to your home every week. The stuff is generally very fresh and the prices are totally affordable.

Best of Health
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#22 of 25 Old 04-13-2009, 05:39 PM
 
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I have a really hard time believing what I read in hysterical, conspiracy-theory oriented sites. And no, monopolization of the food supply is not a conspiracy because it's not a secret that every company wants a large a share as possible of its market. Any hard-headed, cool-thinking sites on this that are against it? Any? I agree that Monsanto sponsorship is a reason to petition it but it irritates me that the articles posted here are so, well... over-the-top.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
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#23 of 25 Old 04-14-2009, 11:34 AM
 
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I know what your saying about getting to hot-but have you considered the recent CPSIA law that sounded good. . .aka keep lead out of toys and products for children. Passed easily and quickly across party lines, but when you really look deeper into the bill what happens? Small business owners that are already producing safe products and work at home moms/pops are effected.
I feel strongly that this bill is much the same, sounds good who is against safer food? Who does not want food contamination to end? Who would be against having better tracking of food?
Prob is the WAY the bill is written! Therefore it needs to not pass and a knew bill should be introduced that does not have the same potential for disaster. And really ll you need to do to know this is true is read the bill

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#24 of 25 Old 04-16-2009, 10:03 AM
 
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http://www.organicconsumers.org/

This link covers it and it's a real organization

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#25 of 25 Old 06-06-2012, 09:53 AM
 
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"stop the Food Safety Modernization" - I have not read this "food safety modernization act". Is it really that evil? Normally, I totally support everything that is targeted to reduce food safety risks. For example, did you know that wooden pallets are dangerous and food should not be transported on them? I read it over here: http://www.pallettruth.com/food-safety-risks/ What I am saying is that if this act is trying to protect us and our children, then I see nothing wrong about it. But if it is a sheep in a wolf's skin, they yes, we should vote no on it! 

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