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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 8/31/10

Legislation for Greater Agribusiness Empowerment

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Legislation for Greater Agribusiness Empowerment - by Stephen Lendman


On July 29, 2009, the House passed HR 2749: Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 "To amend the (1938 as amended) Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to improve the safety of food in the global market, and for other purposes."


An earlier July 2009 article discussed it, accessed through the following link:


click here


On March 3, 2009, S. 510: FDA Food Safety Modernization Act was introduced as the Senate's version of the House bill. On December 18, 2009, it cleared committee and was placed on the Senate's Legislative Calendar for consideration. Thus far not addressed, it likely will be and passed in the wake of the egg salmonella scare though, like its companion bill, it's for agribusiness empowerment, not food safety, used as cover to enhance greater industry consolidation at the expense of small farmers and consumers.


Current laws and regulations are adequate but not enforced, with good reason. Run by industry officials, the USDA is woefully understaffed, under-budgeted, and only performs perfunctory inspections. The FDA operates the same way, fronting for agribusiness, Big Pharma, and related industries, not consumer protection.


If House and Senate bills pass, it will gain new powers and fewer judicial restraints on its actions. Although some provisions address improving America's food, the bills' vague and deceptive language increases the potential for inappropriate application and enforcement, harming small farmers and consumers for big business, what's vital to avoid but less likely given the egg recall.


Now there's a push for corporate friendly legislation masquerading as pro-consumer, the way Congress always works. So expect the worst, for sure what Obama supports, stiff-arming his constituents across the board in deference to corporate and power interests.


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