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A solemn walk through HR 875

By       Message Linn Cohen-Cole     Permalink
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opednews.com Headlined to H3 3/14/09

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(4) contain any other information required by the Administrator.

(e) Approval or Disapproval of Variances- If the Administrator determines after review of a request under subsection (d) that the requested variance provides equivalent protections to those promulgated under subsection (c), the Administrator may approve the request. The Administrator shall deny a request if it is--

(1) not sufficiently detailed to permit a determination;

(2) fails to cite sufficient grounds for allowing a variance; or

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(3) does not provide reasonable assurances that the produce will not be adulterated.

(f) Enforcement- The Administrator may coordinate with the agency or department designated by the Governor of each State to perform activities to ensure compliance with this section.

(g) Imported Produce- Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall promulgate regulations to ensure that raw agricultural commodities and minimally processed produce imported into the United States can meet standards for food safety, inspection, labeling, and consumer protection that are at least equal to standards applicable to such commodities and produce produced in the United States.

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Administrator shall have authority to grant exclusions to foreign producers.

While it may be obvious to us that this is onerous beyond any capability of coping with it, it needs to be said and described in some detail what it would actually mean for farmers or for us.  Here in story form is a taste of it, so anyone could feel the insanity of it. 

SEC. 201. ADMINISTRATION OF NATIONAL PROGRAM.

(a) In General- The Administrator shall--

(1) develop, administer, and annually update a national food safety program (referred to in this section as the 'program') to protect public health; and

(2) ensure that persons who produce, process, or distribute food meet their responsibility to prevent or minimize food safety hazards related to their products.

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This is where it would be very helpful to realize how astoundingly onerous that long list is and what its impact would be on any farmer who previously only needed to load up his goods and bringing them to a farmers market - though that in itself is a time consuming, physically effortful job that often begins pre-dawn on those mornings and ends late in the day, all of it separate from growing the food and boxing it up to bring.  

A small farm is not an industry with staff to fill out paperwork, handle licensing, manage all the industrial bureaucracy that is being loaded on here, but is most often a couple who is also taking care of a family in addition to growing crops and raising animals.  These are precisely the people whom we need most as part of our food system and who will clearly be crushed by the grossly inappropriate application of such rules to small farms.

PASA writes: 

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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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