"Contaminate" is their favorite word since the public fears the deadly contamination that industry itself - not farmers - has caused. That fear is valuable. Scare the public and it is easy to get "food safety standards" set without anyone reading them. 39 progressive co-sponsors leap on, thinking this is about "food safety." But it is only about the use of "food safety," not the reality of it
For to eliminate seed cleaning equipment, the FDA simple set minimum "food safety" standards for seed cleaning (the simple separation of seed from plant) such that a farmer would need a million toa million and a half dollar building and/or equipment to meet the new requirements ... per line of seed.
On the ground, where reality lives, a farmer in the midwest who has been seed cleaning flax for 40 years with his hand made seed cleaner now can't sell his flax on the market anymore. Never mind there are NO instances of anyone ever having gotten sick from seed cleaning equipment. And a farmer in another part of the midwest who has been cleaning wheat, corn and soy for years with one single perfectly fine piece of equipment would now need three to four and half million dollars for three separate pieces of equipment, in order to satisfy the "food safety" standards.
The FDA isn't so high-bar setting when it comes to other things like melamine in baby formula. Though it has proven to sicken and kill infants, initially the FDA just denied the melamine was in all the corporate baby formula but when people found evidence that it was, the FDA then quickly supplied a "food safety" standard that defined whatever level of melamine that was in the formula as fine.
This game playing about "food safety" standards - one to eliminate farmers by setting the bar so high no one can climb, and one to protect industry by setting the bar so low nothing need be done - is nothing new but now it is being suddenly extended to seeds. And it comes with penalties that make bankrupting farmers in an instant, very easy.
The effort to eliminate both seed cleaners and seed cleaning equipment tips us off to who is behind this (shhh) and to this new means of controlling seeds andmakes it possible to see just a few suspect words in this bill, and sense where things are heading.
Organic farmers are not aware of any of this happening. It appears the organic community is being treated with kid gloves until HR 875 and related bills should be passed, coddled so they don't get wise to what's afoot. And they are too disconnected from traditional farmers to be aware of how the USDA has been tromping on them for years.
So organic farmers have missed the handwriting on the wall for themselves.
Plus, plain ole farmers have a history of no one listening to them, which is too bad in general but now it's blatantly dangerous because it is they who are the ones bringing the warning that these bills are not just bad but deadly. The organic community, lulled by its own seeming safety, hasn't heard or understood.
But given what just happened with seed cleaning equipment (sorting), the method and the intent are exposed. "Food safety" is the weapon, with public fear, kept at a high pitch, as the driver. After which, those running this game only need to set the bar at a "food safety" level impossible to meet and apply horrendous punishments for not complying. Farmer is either crushed by that pincer move, or quits. Either way, his land is up for grabs.
And those severe punishments are essential to control groups which will see the whole thing for what it is - insane in terms of farming and anything to do with health, a threat to survival, and driven solely by profit and power.
So, one crucial piece of equipment (seed cleaning) is illegal now and without most people realizing. And simply because a single "foods safety" bar has been raised.
In time, as more and more farmers are forbidden from using their equipment, significant sources of organic seeds will begin to dry up, at which point the organic community would begin to ask what was going on. By then, it will be too late.
Why? Because look at the last item on the list - (seed) storing facilities.
Farmers, gardeners, seed saving exchanges, seed companies, scientific seed projects, and seed banks, all require sorting. All are working overtime to protect biodiversity that is rapidly disappearing specifically because of genetic engineering. As Monsanto began reducing access to seeds, people around the world have worked hard to compensate.
But now the effort is to take over the whole game, going after even these small sources of biodiversity - by simply defining seeds as food and then all farmers' affordable mechanisms for harvesting (collecting), sorting (seed cleaning) andstoring (seed banking or saving) as too dirty to be safe for food.