Wednesday, July 22, 2009

food related bills in Congress

Lifted out of my newsletter, OCFA Fare, because I'm short on time today, but the public absolutely must be educated on these bills. Please spread this post around!!

Bad Congressional Bills Pending: NAIS for Bread and Jam and the Livestock Flatulence tax

HR2749, called the “Food Safety Enhancement Act” in the House would give the FDA significantly greater powers over farmers and would reduce penalties for improper actions of FDA officials in a lawsuit. The bill requires a $500—1,000 registration fee for farms that produce value added products, including those who sell small quantities of food like pickles, cheese, bread and jam at farmers markets in their own states (interstate commerce, which is not supposed to be under federal jurisdiction). HR2749, like NAIS, also requires farms to have a premises ID and allows the FDA to conduct random searches, without warrant or proof of any farm’s wrongdoing. It allows the FDA to regulate produce growing methodology and to ban raw milk sales completely, even in states that currently allow raw milk. It provides authority to quarantine all farms and vehicles used to transport food within an area, regardless of whether all the farms could be considered a risk for the disease outbreak. Suppose a disease strikes stone fruit trees in your area and you grow tomatoes. Yes, your farm could be quarantined, too—and so would the pickup you take to the farmers market and to run errands. Even more alarming is that farmers with value added products will be required to provide full trace-back and forward. You must supply customer information and also keep proof of where you buy your ingredients, even if you produce items generally considered harmless, like bread. If you do not comply, you face fines from $10,000 to $100,000 and prison terms up to ten years. A recent amendment allows seizure if food is simply misbranded. This bill treats your grandma with 36 jars of jam at the farmers market to the same conditions, regulations and fees as a corporate food processor producing thousands of jars per hour. The definition of an exempt farm is as narrow as the definition for who does not need to comply with NAIS: if the food is grown and consumed on the premises, compliance is not required.
The EPA still plans to tax dairy and swine farmers by the head for their “emissions.” The New York Farm Bureau estimates the cost to be $175 per dairy cow, $87.50 per beeve and $20 per hog. Margins for many dairy and swine farms are dismally slim already. Although pasturing animals tends to improve, not harm the environment, the EPA neither treats pastured animals differently from feedlot animals, nor is willing to exempt livestock raised solely for direct sales. If you have more than 50 beef cattle, 25 dairy cows or 200 hogs, you would have to purchase a greenhouse gas permit, regardless of the amount of land the animals graze. Please contact your congressmen about bills HR 1426 in the House and S527 in the Senate and ask him to vote nay.

And now for something completely different… A Good Bill in Congress!

Representative Ron Paul from Texas, who sometimes seems like family farms’ only friend in Washington, D.C., introduced HR778 in the House. This bill would allow interstate commerce of raw milk for human consumption… so customers wouldn’t have to pretend it was for their very hungry puppies week after week, month after month, year after year (funny how these puppies never grow up!) This bill currently has no co-sponsors and is in the Energy and Commerce Committee. HR778 disallows any federal action—seizure, lawsuits, regulation, etc—solely because the dairy products are unpasteurized. Raids on raw milk suppliers would legally be required to cease unless the raw dairy products created a bonafide health threat.
Please call or write your congressmen to request votes against HR2749 and HR1426 (or S527) and for HR778.


Read these bills on www.thomas.gov;
Find your congressmen: www.congress.org
Call, email and fax fast!

1 Comments:

Blogger charli_horse said...

Larisa,

Thanks for starting this blog. What a GREAT way to reach as many people as possible!

For those of you who are unfamiliar, HR 2749 and its companion Senate Bill will DESTROY family farms and homesteaders.

Congressman DeFazio is a co-sponsor of this horrible legislation. I urge ALL of his constituents who want a choice in their food to call his office and demand that he remove his endorsement.

Thanks again and keep up the good work,
Sharlyn ;)

July 26, 2009 at 2:00 PM  

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