AJC – By Jamie Dupree
A major food safety bill that had almost been given up for dead was suddenly revived in the Senate late on Sunday evening, and may be ready for House approval as early as Tuesday.
In a parliamentary move laid out on the Senate floor by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just after 7pm, the Senate took the food safety language that was passed as part of a stop-gap budget plan by the House, attached it to another House-passed bill and approved that by unanimous consent.
A Democratic Senate aide told me that Republicans did not object to the plan, even though the bill has garnered fierce opposition in some GOP quarters.
The move was a surprise, as it seemed like the Food Safety bill was going to die in the waning days of this year, despite strong support in both the House and Senate.
The bill almost went down the drain originally because of an elementary mistake by Senate Democrats, who added revenue provisions to a measure that originated in the Senate, despite the Constitutional requirement that all spending and revenue bills start in the House.
The House refused to act directly on that legislation, because of what’s known as a “blue slip” problem.
That problem was solved when the House approved its long-term Continuing Resolution last week, which included the language of the Senate-passed food safety bill.
As reported above, the Senate on Sunday night simply took the revised food safety language that was approved by the House in the CR, substitued it to the language of HR 2751, one of the original “Cash for Clunkers” bills from last year, and approved it by unanimous consent.
That move will fix any Constitutional issues, because the plan originated in the House as part of the CR, and by using a bill that was already approved by the House, the Cash for Clunkers bill.
Before you start screaming about that – the food safety language replaces the Cash for Clunkers language in the amended version of HR 2751.
I was told that the food safety bill should be up for a vote as soon as Tuesday in the House.
The Hill – By Alexander Bolton
The Senate unexpectedly approved food safety legislation by unanimous consent Sunday evening, rescuing a bill that floated in limbo for weeks because of a clerical error.
The Senate passed the Food Safety and Modernization Act on Nov. 30 by a vote of 73-25. But the bill was later invalidated by a technical objection because it was a revenue-raising measure that did not originate in the House — Senate staff had failed to substitute the food safety language into a House-originated bill.
A coalition of groups supporting the bill sent a letter Sunday to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) calling for action on food safety.
“Our organizations are writing to support attaching S. 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, to the Senate’s proposed short-term continuing resolution,” the groups wrote. “Strong food-safety legislation will reduce the risk of contamination and provide FDA with the resources and authorities the agency needs to help make prevention the focus of our food safety strategies.”
The American Public Health Association, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union and other groups signed the letter.
Democrats first attempted to attach the food safety bill to the two-and-a-half-month spending measure but Republicans balked because they wanted to keep that measure clean, according to Senate aides.
Republicans, however, later agreed to pass it by unanimous consent.
Reid announced he would send the legislation — this time properly attached to a House-originated measure — back to the lower chamber for final approval.
“Our food safety system has not been updated in almost a century. Families in Nevada and across America should never have to worry about whether the food they put on their table is safe,” Reid said in a statement. “This is a common-sense issue with broad bipartisan support.
“Tonight we unanimously passed a measure to improve on our current food safety system by giving the FDA the resources it needs to keep up with advances in food production and marketing, without unduly burdening farmers and food producers,” he said.
The legislation is a high priority for Reid and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).
Reid’s staff earlier in the day had told a coalition of groups supporting the legislation that it had a chance of passing but the prospects appeared to dim as Sunday wore on. The swift approval by unanimous consent caught some aides and lobbyists working on it by surprise.
Sen. Tom Coburn, the outspoken conservative Republican from Oklahoma, had been blocking the legislation. He lifted his objection at the final moment.
Natural News – By Mike Adams
The Food Safety Modernization Act looks like it’s headed to become law. It’s being hailed as a “breakthrough” achievement in food safety, and it would hand vast new powers and funding to the FDA so that it can clean up the food supply and protect all Americans from food-borne pathogens.
There’s just one problem with all this: It’s all a big lie.
Here are the ten biggest lies that have been promoted about S.510 by the U.S. Congress, the food industry giants and the mainstream media:
Lie #1 – Most deaths from food poisoning are caused by fresh produce
Here’s a whopper the mainstream media won’t dare report: Out of the 1,809 people who die in America every year from food-borne pathogens (CDC estimate), only a fraction die from the manufacturer’s contamination of fresh produce. By far the majority of food poisoning is caused by the consumption of spoiled processed foods, dead foods and animal-human transmission of pathogens.
For example, one of the largest food-borne killers according to the CDC is Toxoplasma gondii, a disease that people acquire from cat feces coming into contact with their food, which can happen right in their own homes (http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/Vol5n…). Salmonella poisoning accounts for 553 deaths a year. As a reference for relative risk, over 42,000 people die each year from road accidents in the USA, meaning driving a car has a roughly 7600% higher chance of killing you than eating fresh produce. (http://www.driveandstayalive.com/in…)
In terms of food-borne illness, many of the deaths come from things like spoiled tomato sauce, spoiled canned foods and spoiled pasteurized milk. S 510, of course, does absolutely nothing to address these food contamination deaths, since those foods are considered “sterilized” at the time of sale.
Lie #2 – Under S.510, the FDA would only recall products it knows to be contaminated
Not true. S.510 merely requires the FDA to have “reason to believe” a food is contaminated. So right there, that means all raw milk will be targeted by the FDA because even without conducting any scientific tests at all, the FDA can say it has “reason to believe” the milk is contaminated merely because it is raw.
In other words, the FDA no longer needs science to outlaw a food product. It merely needs an opinion.
Is this “reason to believe” section really true? Yep, and here’s how it was amended:
SEC. 208. ADMINISTRATIVE DETENTION OF FOOD.
23 (a) IN GENERAL. – Section 304(h)(1)(A) (21 U.S.C.24 334(h)(1)(A)) is amended by
(1) striking ”credible evidence or information indicating” and inserting ”reason to believe”;
In other words, in negotiating this bill, the U.S. Senate removed the requirement that the FDA needed “credible evidence” in order to recall a product and, instead, replaced that with the FDA only needing “reason to believe.”
It is utterly amazing that the U.S. Congress would give the FDA to conduct large-scale product recalls and even imprison people based entirely on what the agency “has reason to believe.”
Last time I checked, the FDA held some pretty bizarre (if not downright moronic) beliefs, including this jaw-dropping whopper: The FDA literally believes that there is no food, no herb, no vitamin or supplement that has any ability to prevent disease of any kind. They don’t even believe limes can prevent scurvy, and you’d have to nutritionally illiterate to believe that.
The FDA believes foods are inert and that all the amazing phytonutrients in those foods (carotenoids, antioxidants, therapeutic fats like omega-3 and so on) are utterly useless for human biology.
This belief, held by the FDA that has now been put in charge of the food supply, is the belief system of an insane government agency that has completely lost touch with reality while abandoning nutritional science.
Lie #3 – They didn’t tell you that nearly 70% of grocery store chickens are contaminated with salmonella every day
Yep, it’s true: Amid all the fear-mongering over salmonella, everybody forgot to notice that the vast majority of fresh chickens sold at grocery stores every single day are widely contaminated with salmonella (http://www.naturalnews.com/028661_c…). Yet S 510 does absolutely nothing to address this. It’s not even mentioned in the bill.
In fact, it is these contaminated chickens that end up cross-contaminating the fresh produce in many kitchens across America. So the so-called “food poisoning” that’s often blamed on spinach or onions often originates with the contaminated chicken meat people bring home and slice on their kitchen cutting boards.
Lie #4 – S.510 will exclude and protect small farmers
The Tester Amendment, which was finally included in S.510, excludes farmers who sell less than $500,000 worth of food each year from the more onerous paperwork and compliance burdens described in the bill. But this dollar amount is not indexed to inflation, meaning that as the U.S. dollar continues to lose value due to the Federal Reserve counterfeiting machine running at full speed (more “quantitative easing,” anyone?), food prices will continue to skyrocket — and this will shift even small family farms into the $500,000 sales range within just a few years.
In fact, a single-family farm with just four people could easily sell $500,000 worth of fresh produce a year right now, even before inflation. Remember, $500,000 is not their profit, but rather the gross sales amount. The profits on that might be only $50,000 or even less.
Furthermore, this $500,000 threshold means that small, successful farms that are doing well and would like to expand will refuse to hire more people or expand their operations. To avoid the tyranny of S 510, small farms will try to stay small, and that means avoiding the kind of business expansion that would create new jobs.
Lie #5 – The FDA needs more power to enforce food safety
The FDA already has the power to effectively recall foods by publicly announcing a product has been found to be contaminated. The FDA already has the power to confiscate “misbranded” products, too, and it could easily use this power to halt the sale of contaminated food items.
But the FDA simply refuses to enforce the laws already on the books and, instead, has sought to expand its power by hyping up the e.coli food scares. The ploy apparently worked: Now in a reaction to the food scare-mongering, the FDA is being handed not just new powers, but more funding, too! And you can bet it will find creative new ways to put this power to work suppressing the health freedoms and food freedoms of the American people.
Lie #6 – Fresh produce is contaminated because of a lack of paperwork
There is no evidence that requiring farms to fill out more paperwork will make their food safer. The real cause of produce contamination is the existence of factory animal farms whose effluent output (huge rivers of cow feces, basically), end up in the water supply, soils and equipment that comes into contact with fresh produce.
The food contamination problem is an UPSTREAM problem where you’ve got to reform the factory animal operations that now dominate the American meat industry. S.510, however, does absolutely nothing to address this. Factory animal farms aren’t even addressed in the bill!
Lie #7 – The American people are dying in droves from unsafe fresh food
The truth is that Americans are dying from processed food laced with toxic chemical additives, not from fresh, raw produce. Partially-hydrogenated oils, white sugar, aspartame, MSG and artificial food colors almost certainly kill far more people than bacterial contaminations.
The American public is also dying from pharmaceuticals — anywhere from 100,000 to 240,000 people a year are killed by FDA-approved drugs (http://www.naturalnews.com/001894.html), most of which have been approved under the guise of blatantly fraudulent science and drug company trickery. The FDA doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, it has been a willful co-conspirator in the scientific fraud carried out by Big Pharma in the name of “medicine.” (http://www.naturalnews.com/027851_h…)
Lie #8 – The FDA just wants to make food “safer”
Actually, the FDA wants to make the food more DEAD. Both the FDA and the USDA are vocal opponents of live food. They think that the only safe food is sterilized food, which is why they’ve supported the fumigation, pasteurization and irradiation efforts that have been pushed over the last few years.
California almond growers, for example, must now either chemically fumigate or pasteurize their almonds before selling them (http://www.naturalnews.com/021776.html). This has destroyed the incomes of U.S. almond farmers and forced U.S. food companies to buy raw almonds from Spain and other countries.
Lie #9 – Food smuggling is a huge problem in America
One of the main sections of S.510 addresses “food smuggling.” Yep — people smuggling food across the country. If you’ve never heard of this problem that’s because it’s not actually a problem.
Not yet anyway.
But there’s a reason why they put this into the bill: Because they’re probably planning on criminalizing fresh produce and then arresting people for transporting broccoli with the “intent to distribute.”
Yep, farmers bringing fresh produce to sell at the weekend farmer’s market could soon be arrested and imprisoned as if they were drug smugglers. Hence the need for the “food smuggling” provisions of S.510.
Soon, we will all have to meet in secret locations just to trade carrots for cash.
Lie #10 – S.510 will make America’s food supply the safest in the world
Actually, even with S.510 in place, America’s food supply is among the most chemically contaminated in the world, second only to China. You can find mercury in the seafood, BPA in the canned soup, yeast extract (MSG) in the “natural” potato chips, and artificial petrochemical coloring agents in children’s foods.
Eating the “Standard American Diet” is probably the single most harmful thing a person can do for their health. It’s the fastest way to get cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Every nation in the world that begins to consume the American diet starts to show record rates of degenerative disease within one generation. This is the “safe food” that the U.S. Senate is now pushing on everyone.
Remember, with S.510, SAFE = DEAD. And the FDA says it wants to keep everybody safe.
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Related Previous Posts:
S. 510: FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (Full Text)
Food Freedom: S 510 is hissing in the grass
S. 510: A Clear and Present Danger
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