Last updated March 16, 2009 at 1AM Eastern to correct formatting issues, and to add a related YouTube video by Free Speech TV.
The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) sent out information about HR 875, which lists 'facts' to counter 'myths' and 'rumors' on the internet. It gives no specifics to back up its 'facts,' so the following close up view of the bill and accompanying commentary offers readers a chance to decide for themselves what is myth and what is fact.
Sue Diederich heads the Illinois Independent Consumers and Farmers Association, an organization formed to protect the rights of farmers and consumers to deal directly with each other without government interference. Neither of us are lawyers, but we both can read. We invite progressive headliners to read the bills themselves and provide their own analysis. The Left needs to understand what their conservative brothers and sisters in farming view as an alarming attempt to seize absolute control of all attempts at private (non-corporate), healthy, organic food growing and sharing. ~LCC
People seem to expect HR 875 to be titled "The Criminalization of Organic Farming and the Take over of the US Food Supply." When they don't see any words to that effect anywhere in the bill, they declare "this bill is fine" and those seeing dangers are "alarmists." Do they think the industrial side is composed of fools? These are the same people who make cheery cereals with cartoon characters on the box when, inside, high fructose corn syrup is all over the cereal which comes from Bt-corn associated with diabetes. HFCS is, too, and there is an epidemic of diabetes here even among children. They know how to package. Why do people understand that industrial food inside a box can be a problem and yet are so innocent about looking at the bills, not realizing there is packaging there, too, or how much is at stake that the public and even legislators not see since this is about taking control. The industrial side isn't stupid.
Understanding parts of the bill at times depends on smelling smoke as you read it. Here in the US, we still have only smoke ... an Ohio state ag department SWAT team raid on an organic coop, Pennsylvania ag department raids on horse and buggy Mennonites, California setting coliform levels so low fresh milk dairy farmers would need cows that produced pasteurized milk right out the udder, arrest and handcuffing of a single mother in front of her children for selling goat milk, the USDA paying its agents bonuses for foreclosing on farms, ... But in the EU where 60% of the Polish farmers are now gone because of identical bills enacted into law there, and 60 UK farmers have committed suicide, there is fire. And in Iraq, where they have been rendered helpless serfs by the theft of their country's seeds and criminalization of farmers' collection of their own seed, it is roaring. And in India where 182,000 farmers have committed suicide since the WTO and IMF got hold of agriculture and our Big Ag firms went in there, and 8 million farmers have left the land, it is out of control.
The World Trade Organization (WTO), run by the multinational meat packers and genetic engineering corporations, want HR 875, here. The bills are "harmonized" rules for globalization of food and lower food safety standards to allow for it. Those corporations are members of NIAA, a corporate consortium that brought NAIS, created by Anne Veneman, to the USDA to be made into law.
We begin with PASA offering Food & Water Watch's take on the bills to its members. PASA's assertions are in Times New Roman.
Myths and Facts H.R. 875 –The Food Safety Modernization Act
PASA members: The following information about a bill now before Congress, HR 875, was developed by our friends at Food and Water Watch, and forwarded to us by the National Sustainable Ag Coalition (NSAC), of which PASA is a member.This Myth/Fact sheet was developed to help answer some of the rumors that are fairly rampant on the Internet right now. We will keep a close eye on the situation, and share further updates from NSAC as they become available.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.
Though private residences are not specifically included, nor are they specifically excluded. While this does not immediately affect homeowners growing tomatoes in the backyard, entered testimony leaves the door open for just that in the future. Referring back to the Bio-Terrorism Act, in a discussion on this very topic and entered in the official record of debate on the interim rule, the same argument exists here and no new definitions or exclusions have been provided in HR 875 - and "reasonable" is a subjective term in theory as well as practice...
(13) FOOD ESTABLISHMENT-
(A) IN GENERAL- The term 'food establishment' means a slaughterhouse (except those regulated under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act), factory, warehouse, or facility owned or operated by a person located in any State that processes food or a facility that holds, stores, or transports food or food ingredients.
Now, every home in the country holds food after buying it from the grocery store. Will they be included too? Heck, no. They're going to be magnanimous and say that, while they could, they won't right now.
Response excerpted from the same Interim Rule:
"FDA has concluded that private individual residences are not ''facilities'' for purposes of the registration provision of the Bioterrorism Act. Under the Bioterrorism Act, the term ''facility'' includes ''any factory, warehouse, or establishment.''
Congress did not specify any definition for these terms. Under their common meanings, the terms can include private residences. For example, according to Webster's II New Riverside University Dictionary (1994), the most relevant definition of ''establishment'' is ''a business firm, club, institution, or residence, including its possessions and employees.''
However, ''[I]n determining whether Congress has specifically addressed the question at issue, the court should not confine itself to examining a particular statutory provision in isolation.... It is a fundamental canon of statutory construction that the words of a statute must be read in their context and with a view to their place in the overall statutory scheme." FDA v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp., 529 U.S. 120, 121 (2000).