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SENTRY JOURNAL » Big Government, Cry Freedom, Food Safety Modernization Act, History of Liberty, S 510, Senator Jon Tester, Unconstitutional » UPDATE S. 510: Montana Senator Jon Tester strikes a deal

UPDATE S. 510: Montana Senator Jon Tester strikes a deal

This is an update from Open Congress on where we’re at with S. 510 the Food Safety Modernization Act.  Yesterday Democratic Senator Jon Tester from Montana struck a deal with Senate leadership to have his amendment protecting small and local food companies rolled into the bill via the manager’s amendment.

When we have Senators being forced to strike deals to protect certain sectors of the free market this should tell you how destructive this bill truly is.  This deal might be the one that pushes it over the top and once again expands government authority over a sector of our economy that they feel needs more regulation and oversight.

 Below is a summary amendment that has been proposed by Senator Tester.

Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) has sponsored an amendment to the food safety bill (S. 510) to further protect small, local food processors and producers.

Retail Food Establishments:

In the 2002 Bioterrorism Act, Congress required that all facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold food must register with FDA, but it exempted from that requirement “retail food establishments.” FDA defined the term at 21 CFR 1.227(b)(11). For purposes of the definition, the Tester amendment would require FDA to clarify that “direct sales” of food to consumers includes sales that occur other than where the food was manufactured, such as at a roadside stand or farmers’ market.

Qualified Exemptions:

-Facilities:

(1) Food facilities would qualify for an exemption from the preventive control/HACCP provisions in section 103 of S. 510 under certain conditions:

they are either a “very small business” as defined by FDA in rulemaking; or

the average annual monetary value of all food sold by the facility during the previous 3 year period was less than $500,000, but only so long as the majority of the food sold by that facility was sold directly to consumers, restaurants, or grocery stores (as opposed to 3rd party food brokers) and were in the same state where the facility sold the food or within 275 miles of the facility.

(2) Facilities that qualify would be exempt from the preventive control/HACCP provisions in S. 510, but would still have to comply with one of the following:

They would have to demonstrate that they have identified potential hazards and are implementing preventive controls to address the hazards, or

they would have to demonstrate to FDA that they are in compliance with state or local food safety laws.

(3) Disclosure: Any food sold by a facility that opts for compliance option (2), above, would have to prominently and conspicuously provide the name and address of the facility that produced it on a food packaging label, or at the point of purchase, as appropriate.

(4) Study: FDA would have to conduct a study of the food processing sector to help inform the definition of what it means to be a “very small” facility for purposes of the exemption above.

-Farms:

(1) Farms would qualify for an exemption from the produce safety standards in section 105 of S. 510 if, during the previous 3 year period, the average monetary value of the food they sold was less than $500,000, but only so long as the majority of sales were to consumers, restaurants, or grocery stores (as opposed to 3rd party food brokers) and were in the same state where the farm harvested or produced the food or within 275 miles of the farm.

(1) Any food sold under the exemption would have to have the same disclosure set forth above.

-Limitation:

(1) In the event of an active investigation of a foodborne illness outbreak that is directly linked to a facility or farm exempted under this section, or if the Secretary determines that it is necessary to protect the public health and prevent or mitigate a foodborne illness outbreak based on conduct or conditions associated with a facility or farm that are material to the safety of food, the Secretary may withdraw the exemption provided to such facility under this section. No activities under this limitation expand existing FDA authorities to inspect farms.

You can read the entire article here>>

Does this do enough to protect small family farms or is it a Jedi mind trick to sway senators on the fence and appease the public to push the bill through?  In my opinion when individual liberties are at stake one must drill down a bit deeper than these mind numbing surface questions.  We must be willing to see this bill for what it truly is.  I contend there much more at stake than family farms and home grown gardens.  What’s at stake here are liberties and individual freedoms and we all have a responsibility to understand the issues. Think about it, whenever the government grants itself expansive powers and authority it’s always about individual liberties and freedom and when we put it in this context we must view this unconstitutional infringement by the federal government over our food industry as an attack on both.  I believe this bill goes too far and I cannot find the constitutional authority for the government to exercise this kind of central control over our food industry.

Thomas Jefferson had his own thoughts on this:

If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”

So does anyone really care?  It’s apparent our congress doesn’t; the real question is do you care?

UPDATE: Steve over at American Watchtower has a great post on this subject.

Liberty forever, freedom for all!

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Filed under: Big Government, Cry Freedom, Food Safety Modernization Act, History of Liberty, S 510, Senator Jon Tester, Unconstitutional

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