by:  Paul Griepentrog  All rights reserved  Tell a Friend 

While we head into this Thanksgiving holiday we can all rest assured that the FDA and USDA have done their best to insure no one will get sick from the feast.  Of course we can be even more thankful that the US Senate is going to further the powers of these agencies to make our meal times even more secured.   These agencies are paid to insure our safety across a wide range of products.  They have done a fine job of that, with recalls going back several years and across a number of products.  Can we not, from the use of  failed self determining HACCP plans written by the companies themselves, along with the lack of authority of inspectors to close plants conclude that these agencies are then a failure in and of themselves and at the very root of the problem.

  Is it not possible that the situation now is worse than it was at the inception of these organizations?  In the writing of Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” we are shown a world run for the benefit of large companies, by exploiting labor, bribing officials, and more.  Today we are not appreciably different, only now multinational corporations buy their way through government with lobbyists, international trade agreements and the government agencies which utilize the scare tactics of contaminated food to further their empire building.

  These situations of contaminated food are the direct result of the failure of these organizations.  The system in place in the past gave inspectors the authority to close a food facility at a moment’s notice, this no longer happens as evidenced with the peanut situation where rodent fecal material was evident and was passed by organic inspection as well.  The FDA’s original authority came in the labeling aspect of food, milk from Aurora dairy was sold as organic even thought the USDA was aware that organic standards were not being met.  This is a wilful act to defraud the public by the company and the government agencies are complicit in this act.  Having failed the public trust how can we even consider furthering their authority?

  But they are considering it, not by addressing the issues and restoring a system that worked, but by furthering the reach of administrative authority to all aspects of production, requiring HACCP for all producers, recordkeeping to evidence Good Agricultural Practices which are to be enforced.  Good Agricultural Practices determined by bureaucrats and industry leaders.  An extension of the same failed plan that’s in place now.  Resistance is futile; producers that request a warrant or resist inspection in defence of their rights under Miranda v Arizona would be quickly rounded up by the county sheriff.  Not by warrant issued by a judge that would require cause be shown to do harm, but by the mere filing with the clerk of courts by an administrative agent.  Entire geographical regions could be quarantined with inspections of all vehicles known to have transported food.  Not by order of a Federal Magistrate, but by determination of the administrative head, based on a reason to believe, not hard evidence.

What if a mistake is made?  No problem, just ask the tomato producers who lost their crop because of false pretext in the salsa scare.  They haven’t received compensation for their losses and probably won’t.  The end cause was peppers from Mexico, don’t worry there will be enough foreign food to import as producers here vacate the industry, food from countries still using chemicals banned here years ago.  Where there is no accountability there is no credibility.  Big industry supports these food safety bills as a way of eliminating their on farm rivals.  Profit is their motive as shown by Organic Valley in their brief supporting Aurora’s in the class action suit filed by consumers for having marketed milk not meeting organic standards.  Profit derived in this instance by royalties paid by producers.  The same type of profit involved in the licensing fees extolled in the food safety legislation.

We have heard of exemptions for small direct market producers in these bills however the reality remains that what government gives it can take away with notice on the Federal Register.  I have no obligation to operate under privilege that which is mine by right.  Subject to the power hungry nature evidenced in health and ag departments of the various states, all too easily intoxicated with their new found authority.

The loss is that of consumer choice, which is not a privilege given by government to regulate their options pursuant to corporate profits, but a right exercised by them every time they purchase a food item.  Rights are property and cannot be voided by administrative rule, or enactment of code solely derived from corporate powers application of investments into the electorate or bribes to the state agencies.  These rights are to have and to hold, the rights of a living human being, to sustain their bodies in a manner of their choosing.

The Freedom of Farming Act

Wherein any family farm, defined as an operation engaged in production agriculture that employs no full time personnel, save those within the family construct, shall have exclusive right to market all products of the farming operation, raw or value added through processing, direct to consumers, or local establishments, and shall be free of all inspection, recordkeeping, and traceability requirements of any governmental agency.  The producer and consumer shall make a reasonable effort to exchange information regarding these products, and the methods of production and processing, in the formation of a covenant between them.

  Aw hell, it’s a pipe dream at best; next best thing would be to make arrangements with your local producers to acquire what you need through a black market system with what’s coming you will probably need it.