I have heard and had confirmed that Senate Bill S 510 the "Food Safety Modernization Act" is due to go for a cloture vote next week. Cloture can be filibustered, and Senator Coburn of Oklahoma has previously stated that he would do just that....But he will need help.
In a nutshell, S510 is effectively NAIS for everything. It is a tremendous amount of additional enforcement (fines and penalties, license revocations, further license requirements, control over processes and harvest) are definite issues with the bill as it currently exists. However, not unlike the "Health Care" bill, they will have to pass this to see what it actually does.
Here's why....In S 510, the FDA is instructed to follow all international agreements. One of the issues with international 'guidelines and standards' is "good agricultural practices". Well those are not necessarily good. Most GAP certifying bodies have checklists about 25 pages long for growers to follow. They all require traceability (ie. NAIS) they also require auditing, verifying and certifying the processes used to produce a consumable product for human or animal feed. Every step in GAP costs the grower of food money and a good deal of paperwork. What happens if you're better at growing food than filing forms? You will be penalized...
The idea that exemptions will be helpful is rose colored glasses thinking. Exemptions can easily be taken away or modified without Congressional oversight through the regulatory process. Most farmers aren't watching the Federal Register like hawks.
The FDA has plenty of authority to protect the anonymous food supply already. But they don't. Instead, they put small entities out of business through HACCP (also to be expanded in this bill) and heavier regulations that are not helpful to smaller economies of scale. The FDA inspects less than 1% of imported produce, has performed inspections on less than 25% of processing facilities that they are authorized to inspect (in a five year period) and they ALREADY have authority over live food animals on the farm. The USDA authority is over animal disease.
Please, call your Senators and tell them to go with Coburn on stopping this bill from coming to the floor. Coburn has a list of objections and concerns with the bill listed on his website:
Send that to your Senator's office, and tell them we don't need another drop of regulation from an agency who has told us we don't have the right to eat foods of our choice.
BTW, I am sending this out there asap, and if you want back up on my statements, you will need to download the newest version of the bill from thomas or govtrack and read my articles on newswithviews.
Just ask yourself when's the last time the Feds gave highly expansive authority to an agency and it turned out to be good for freedom and good for the economy?