Tree-Hugging Dirt Worship

November 30, 2010

Food Safety Modernization Act is Crap

Filed under: gardening, Soapbox — paragardener @ 5:01 pm

I checked it out. S. 510 grants the FDA broad authority to make up rules to regulate food packers, shippers, retail outlets
(except restaurants), basically anyone between the farmer and the consumer. And we want these people regulated… I don’t
see how selling people bad food is okay in any decent kind of society.

However, we maybe should agree on those rules in some democratic kind of way instead of handing authority to the Secretary
of the FDA. If the FDA were some magically apolitical body of altruistic experts, okay, but in fact they have a history of
stomping on small farmers by requiring industrial-scale controls on food quality (you must have a room just to wash your
hands attached to the room where you milk, etc.). People handling food in “traditional” ways don’t have the same problems
as industrial producers, and they don’t need to follow the same safety precautions.

I am supporting the Tester amendments, which would make a little zone of exemption for tiny processors and direct farmer-to-consumer
sales, such as farmer’s markets. IMHO, the FDA will still find authority within the bill to harass various forms of
Community Supported Agriculture, and marijuana dispensaries offering “medibles.” Without the Tester amendments,
the bill would make it illegal for you to accept cash for tomatoes, unless you kept the proper records and obeyed whatever regulations the FDA will make up.

Am I playing the politics correctly here? Maybe the amendments just make the bill more likely to pass.

Keep in mind that any version of S. 510 is broadening the authority of an agency with no regard for human rights. Being
sued by raw milk drinkers, the FDA was backed into a corner where they specifically attacked your rights to food and
physical health:

The interest claimed by plaintiffs could be framed more narrowly as a right to “provide themselves and their
families with the foods of their own choice.” But there is no “deeply rooted” historical tradition of unfettered access to
food of all kinds. To the contrary, society’s long history of food regulation stretches back to the dietary laws of biblical times.

If only FDA’s authority were granted directly by God!

Plaintiffs’ assertion of a “fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health, which includes what
foods they do and do not choose to consume for themselves and their families” is similarly unavailing because plaintiffs do
not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish. In addition, courts have consistently
refused to extrapolate a generalized right to “bodily and physical health.”

Again, support the Tester amendments. Oppose S. 510!

The vote may be coming today.



  1. Crap! It passed, after the proposed restrictions on endocrine disruptor BPA were removed, and while I was blogging and petitioning about it. A little slow on the draw, I guess. We will see what this means in a year, when the regulations are promulgated.

    Comment by paragardener — November 30, 2010 @ 5:15 pm

  2. Oh shit, it passed???? Fuck.

    Comment by estraven — November 30, 2010 @ 5:27 pm

  3. I believe the bill also has something to say about herbal supplements and/or supplements in general. We live in a corporatocracy that’s begin more police-statey by the frickin’ day.

    Comment by estraven — November 30, 2010 @ 5:28 pm

  4. We can still hope it gets quashed in the House …

    Comment by estraven — November 30, 2010 @ 5:30 pm

  5. In the latest, the Senate may have put a tax into the bill, something only the House is allowed to propose. In this situation the House cannot approve the bill, it must go back to the Senate for revision. Also, the GOP is vowing to block -any- bill until tax cuts are extended. As far as I can tell, there is no reason behind this aside from driving Democrats insane; nonetheless, they may kill this bill with their indiscriminate fire.

    Tester says there is nothing scary in this bill, read it yourself. But, no one who has read it agrees about exactly what this bill means!

    Comment by paragardener — December 2, 2010 @ 2:07 am

    • Well, they really and truly passed it right before Xmas.

      Thank goodness tax cuts have been extended for those making over $250,000… if my dream of being rich and practically untaxed were thwarted, I would simply lose my will to do any work.

      Comment by paragardener — January 5, 2011 @ 6:17 pm

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