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General News    H2'ed 2/28/09

Clintons promote their second Monsanto 'fake food safety' plan that destroys farmers

By Cheryl Neilson and Linn Cohen-Cole  Posted by Linn Cohen-Cole (about the submitter)   5 comments
Message Linn Cohen-Cole
There are "food safety" bills now in Congress which are a remake of Hillary Clinton's presidential platform to centralize the USDA and FDA into a single massive "Food Safety Department."  A few reminders are in order.

Hillary and Bill Clinton are deeply involved with Monsanto , often called the most evil corporation on earth.  The people introducing these bills are friends of the Clintons and/or have their own close connections to Monsanto which is working aggressively to take control over food around the world, whether through patenting of seeds and animals, buying up fish farms in India or privatizing water - if you need it to survive so will be willing to pay through the nose for it, Monsanto is out there ahead of you, getting control over what you need .

This is not the first Clinton foray into "food safety."  Bill Clinton also proposed a Monsanto-driven and "harmonized" internationally major "food safety" program.  It was HACCP.  It is what the Organic Consumers Association described as "The beginnings of deregulation, and how feces became an approved part of the American diet."  

Carol Tucker Forman, though taking positions as an consumer advocate, was an outspoken lobbyist for Monsanto's rBGH, favoring corporate interests over the best interests of the public.

"The discovery of drug resistant bacteria in poultry is linked to a food safety decision in 1976 that most people never knew about and few remember today.

Rod Leonard, head of the Community Nutrition Institute said, "Carol Foreman, a newly minted Assistant Secretary of Agriculture, approved that year a change in food safety procedures ... [She] decided that poultry visibly smeared with fecal matter could be safely eaten after the feces was washed away." ...

"Easing food safety standards a generation ago began a deterioration in the nation's food safety shield today that is a public scandal. And, bacteria swiftly become resistant to antibiotics when drugs are licensed as feed additives, creating a public health crisis that is just now unfolding. ...

"Over the past six years, even while representing Monsanto and other corporate clients, Foreman has been one of the most vociferous supporters of Hazardous Analysis Critical Control Program (HACCP), an awkward acronym for a program to deregulate food safety. [My emphasis.]

"The major reason for Foreman's renewed interest in food safety, however, is contained in her explanation for returning to CFA, i.e., she will seek to develop policies 'that assure food safety in a global economy.'  HACCP is the keystone of President Clinton's globalization strategy to restrict the ability of Congress and of citizens at risk of health to make food safety a political, or policy issue."

On the promised "food safety" side, HACCP reduced inspections and there has been no drop but a rise in problems with contaminated food.  And on the farmer side, HACCP destroyed, in Kansas alone, 72 small, local meat processing plants that had no history of any problems, and led to a centralization of our food supply and increased industry control over our food.

So, the "food safety" bills in Congress are the second major plan put forward by the Clintons, each one associated with Monsanto, each one harmonizing with global regulations that favor Monsanto and other multinationals, and each time - if one bothers to look - destructive of actual food safety, good for corporations, and perilous to farmers who are the only real "food safety" we have.  
All that by way of introduction to an article based almost entirely on writing by Gail Neilson, who has done an incredible of supplying critically missing background on what is actually happening to US food safety and who is behind it.  I am quoting her directly below and then have made changes editorial changes and added some supporting material, but the shape of this article and the research for it are hers.  

"It is important to note that no animal identification program will prevent an introduction of animal disease, ensure safe food or prevent a recall."   Scott Charbo, Chief Information Officer at USDA March 6, 2004

"If there is no substantial public outcry heard before March 15 of 2009, it will be difficult to impossible for Granny to have laying hens, for your daughter to have a pony, or the organic farm across the street to grow veggies. Only in the last decade have the demon doctors of big agriculture finally come up with a plan so devilish that it just might succeed in running farmers off the land for good. Can you imagine America with no family farms? 

"Take a look at current House bills HR 814 and HR 875 (Senate version S.384).  They are driven by Monsanto, a large corporation that has eyes on controlling all the world's agriculture. These bills will strangle family farms in red tape, and levy confiscatory fines, causing farmers to simply give up.  Then the Big Ag corporations  can grab their land, snapping it up at bargain prices."

Safety or Monopoly?

But these are food safety bills, aren't they? Well, no, they aren't.  Media touts these bills as promoting food safety.  But what do they actually do? Digging into them, you'll find they're not about food safety at all, but instead remove border checks on foreign food coming into the US, and establish legal food monopolies!  A sponsor of those bills, Congresswoman Rosa Delauro (D-CT) is working with Monsanto to create these so-called food safety laws. How can a member of Congress get away with this? Her husband, Stan Greenberg, is her Monsanto connection. He works for various politicians and corporations as a pollster, strategist and master manipulator.

Aren't Any Farmers Worried About These Bills?

They sure are. They have been fighting to stop them from happening for years.   Yet the 2009 report on US Animal Agriculture that "supposed" experts prepared for Congressmen never touches on concerns voiced by farmers!  It speaks for international meat packers, and grain traders, “promoting their exports, resolving their trade disputes, and reassuring their markets” but never once for our American farmers The international Big-Ag has a voice, but what about US farmers?  Who's interest should Congress represent anyway?

There has been an increase in recalls since 1995 ...

[I]t all goes back to a fundamental change in US food safety based on the WTO AoA ratified in 1995, a policy written by a Grain Trader named Dan Amstrutz, VP of Cargill. The new improved food policy touted in HR 814 and HR 875 is written by the same corporation which posted record earnings last year while people rioted over food prices, shortages and children starved. 

Ratification of WTO AoA. meant the USDA and FDA had to change food 

safety practices. The AoA introduced the concept of "low risk areas" and 

importing without quarantine or food safety measures. Monsanto, Cargill 

and the rest of big Ag knew the decrease in testing and open borders 

would cause tainted food, So they came up with a corporate friendly 

"Food Safety System".  The new system

1) looks good to the consumer

2) transfers liability to the farmer

3) bankrupts independent and organic farms

And best of all, it's a paperwork system tailor made to hide the true source of contamination. Most of the system was implemented right away but the system has addition elements which is what the current bills in Congress are about.  But American farmers have been too smart to fall for the "tagging and paperwork" part of the system that now comes next.  It was clear it's designed to bankrupt them. 

The WTO AoA system waved in front of the public as a "food safety" plan, actually cut safety to the bone - labs are closed, the borders are opened to animals from countries where there are animal diseases, and reports of tainted food sky rocketed.  For example, take Bovine TB.  One port of entry was turned over to a Mexican Cattlemen's Association, while testing in California was decreased from 10,576 a year in 1995 to 1,425 a year in 1999.  The USDA now reports “The number of carcasses found infected with TB is 15 times higher than in 1986.”

And what of our farmers' fear of being wiped out by these bills?  

There is already experience that these WTO “free trade” and “Farm to Fork” laws  drive out farmers.  The EU already has them and they are not protecting either EU consumers or their farmers.  But they have increased factory farms and are good for corporations reaping huge profits from rigged "free trade."

Before they joined the EU, the UK fed itself.  “Regulations are the EU's hidden weapon of mass destruction of farmers.” Sir Julian Rose reported.  Top brass at the EU admitted they had already removed 60 percent of Portugal's farmers and planned to shift one million Polish farmers off their land. 

In India, 8 million people have left farming altogether, and the farm suicides – the largest sustained wave recorded in history – are on-going now with a farmer committing suicide there every 30 minutes.  The rate has worsened since 2001, by which time India was well down the WTO plan for agriculture.   P. Sainath, the acclaimed Indian journalist who won the Magsaysay award for journalism in 2007 (the Asian Nobel prize), rightly named it "Neoliberal Terrorism ."  

But even if it's terrible for farmers, don't people at least get "food safety"? 

Here in the US, we can tell in advance merely by looking at how well the same laws have worked in the EU, because they are, in fact, the same laws - just as Bush promised, it is about “harmonization” with EU regulations.  So, what is happening there?

Farmers in the UK feared FMD (foot and mouth disease) tainted meat coming in from Brazil and yet they had an uphill battle getting any import ban from the EU.  (The same issue exists here, with farmers desperately trying to shut borders to infected animals, only here the USDA allows import from Brazil.)

With Brazilian cattle , there is non- existent or unreliable traceability, removal of tags, inadequate movement and border controls, ineffective Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) eradication measures and the use of banned medication.

We visited over 40 farms and repeatedly found heaps of tags which had been cut out of ears."  

The EU imposed a month long ban and then lifted it , a mere tip of the hat to "food safety." JBS Swift , owned by the Batista family and the Brazilian Government, is THE world's largest meat packer whose buy out of US companies reduced the big packing houses here from five to only three, despite intense farmer protests over monopoly.  Will international “farm to fork” laws even apply in Brazil when the government owns an interest in the meat packer?  Or will Brazil be an unregulated source of cheap meat which can through these bills more easily be forced onto the US by multinationals through these border-opening "food safety" laws?

It has been only our own farmers who have been our only protection from food safety dangers.  

First, they offer true competition to a "rotten" system by supplying clean food.  And second, they have actually been fighting in court to stop dangerous monopoly mergers and the opening of borders to infected cattle and meat.  Giant Agribusiness has two reasons for wanting to get rid of American farmers, right there.
But it gets worse than FMD.  After recognizing the connection between meat and bone meal (MBM) and BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephaphitis - Mad Cow Disease), the UK banned MBM in all UK feed.  That meant left over contaminated meal so, instead of getting rid of it, in order to not lose money, the UK exported it for eight years .  They “informed international bodies", leaving it to member states to decide whether to "import”.  The USDA knew, it allowed the import, and now actually refuses to do adequate testing for BSE , even when farmers are offering to pay for it themselves.
But how do we know for sure the new laws will not improve food safety?  

Because they substitute paperwork for disease testing.  Food quality professionals know - actually anyone with commonsense knows - paperwork never insures quality, only testing does.

A retired Quality Engineer who ran testing labs for years, said this of the "new improved system of "Risk Assessment" "Traceability" and “HACCP”  

“It's the same “ISO ” management techniques that allow corporations to sweep problems under the rug.  I witnessed it for 25 of my 40 years. I conducted FDA inspectors on tour, the inspection is a laugh. They look at paperwork, how clean the place is and that's it. I never saw anyone take a sample [to] retain for comparison to our test results. How else can you tell if lab results were faked?  I have been fired five times for refusing to fake lab results, so I only trust independent lab results not corporate paperwork. Looking at paperwork tells you nothing.”

Testing and GOOD inspection are the ONLY thing that works.  ISO (International Organization for Standardization), "Risk Assessment" "Traceability" and “HACCP ” are Management Systems ... period.  When the article, "Eliminate ISO? " blasted ISO appeared in Quality Magazine, it got a massive response with not one Quality professional defending ISO . 

The alleged "food safety" bills in Congress will destroy American farming and leave us all in the hands of powerful (and filthy) industrial food corporations.  These bills are the take over of the US food supply and the death of organic farming and must be stopped.

We have the opportunity to stop the threats to our food supply by commenting on these bills in committee and on the USDA proposed rule change in the Federal Register

Go to this link , see if your representative is involved in HR 875, click on his name, and send him/her your opinion. It is really that easy.

And here is 
HR 814 to check. 

The senate version is 
here .

Thanks to OpEdNews.com you can even 
submit a personal message to your local daily newspaper as a Letter to the Editor.
Here is an easy way to send a message to all your Congress people at once.  

And do not forget to comment on the USDA proposed rule change in the Federal Register.
Write MoveOn and demand that they get involved.  "Eli Pariser, MoveOn.org Political Action" ,
After the defeat of a similar bill in 2005, Monsanto is taking no chances. Both bills appeared simultaneously in each house, having been planned before the fact.  They are pushing fast and hard.

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Met libertarian and conservative farmers and learned an incredible amount about farming and nature and science, as well as about government violations against them and against us all. The other side of the fence is nothing like what we've been (more...)
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