Time is running out. Factory farms are one of the biggest threats to our food supply. The more we understand the enormous impact these operations have on our health and the environment, the more we know that these operations are those who will benefit from the passage of The Food Safety and Modernization Act S.510 – and that if it is voted in, the future for small, sustainable farmers may be over.
The problem is becoming so acute, the American Public Health Association has declared a moratorium on new factory farm facilities. Since 2006, The World Watch Institute has considered factory farms to be “mini Chernobyls” due to the endless amount of pollution created by these operations and emptied out into the air, groundwater, and soil. The damage will only continue to escalate without some type of intervention in the way we allow food to be produced.
Please watch this critical film, A River of Waste: The Truth About Factory Farms:
The problems with these businesses should be so apparent – environmental damage, hazardous working conditions, unsanitary processing methods, contamination of the meat and meat products people eat due to toxic substances using hormones/antibiotics/pesticides/genetically-modified feed, and yet the government chooses to turn a blind eye to continued food recalls coming from these operations, while at the same time has been committing raids and shut-downs on more and more small farms who produce real, healthy, sustainable food.
These farms were subjected to harassment by the United States Government and forced to close their doors, even in the face of questionable testing procedures and protocol, and despite the fact that no one has ever been reported sick from consumption of these products.
The same cannot be said about commercial and industrially-produced foods.
Contacting your state senators now is more important than ever, we are in the last few hours before votes go through. Votes may be cast on Monday, November 29th for this horrendous bill that could irrevocably alter the future of our food!
Please let your legislative body know you oppose The Food Safety and Modernization Act Bill S.510 because of how it will first limit and then eventually shut down small, sustainable farmers.
Go to Congress.org, type in your zip code, and contact the congressmen and women listed there to make a difference!
The FDA has been granted more power than ever to tell states how to conduct themselves, and it is critical that we make our voices heard in this matter. When you call your senators, you’ll most likely get a staff member on the line. Tell them to please let your senator or any other senator you are calling to reach that you would like for him or her to vote:
- “No” on cloture,
- “Yes” on the Coburn substitute,
- “Yes” on the Managers’ substitute bill, if Coburn fails
- “No” on the overall bill.
The more you know about the Food Safety Modernization Act S.510, the more evident it becomes that this bill is the WRONG approach to taking care of food safety. If you have been following food recalls in the news and read about the origins of the food that is being recalled, you will find again and again that these products all come from industrial and concentrated animal feeding operation environments (factory farms). You will not find any valid food recalls from sustainable farms.
Some people are saying the Tester-Hagan amendment will be the saving grace for this harmful bill, but the entire bill itself contains such damaging language that any part of it will adversely come down on small, sustainable farmers who be rendered effectively unable to compete with larger agricultural operations with more profit and power. In reality, the Tester Amendment may just serve to stall this bill from being passed temporarily, but won’t actually change the fundamental problems inherent in the bill.
This bill is extremely damaging to the entire face of agriculture as we know it – but especially to those who want to grown, produce, eat, and sell safe, healthy, sustainable food.
Talking points (from the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund page):
- FDA has powers under existing law to effectively deal with outbreaks like Wright County Egg. FDA has power to inspect, power to detain product and can readily obtain court orders to seize adulterated or misbranded food products or enjoin them from being sold. The problem isn’t that FDA needs more power; it’s that FDA does not effectively use the power it currently has.
- S510 will give FDA power to regulate food in intrastate commerce; state and local governments are more than capable of handling any problems related to food in intrastate commerce. All the major outbreaks of foodborne illness involve either imported food or food in interstate commerce.
- S510 will hurt our ability as a nation to be self-sufficient in food production; it has more lenient inspection requirements for foreign than domestic producers creating an unfair advantage for food imports. Giving an advantage to foreign producers will only increase the amount of food imported into this country that does not meet our domestic standards. As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the U.S. must accept imported food that meets WTO standards, even if those standards are not up to our own. The bill does not address food security; the ability of a country to produce enough food to meet its own needs.
- S510 will provide a competitive advantage to industrial food producers–the sector of the food system causing most of the food safety problems; they will benefit from this legislation because it will burden small farmers and local producers, the solution to food safety problems in this country.The bill will impose a one-size-fits-all regulatory scheme that will punish local food producers, many of which won’t have the economies of scale to comply with S510’s requirements.
- The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should not be involved in domestic food regulation. The best way to protect our food supply is to decentralize and localize food production. There are already enough problems coordinating on food regulations just between FDA and USDA without bringing DHS into the mix. DHS is a huge disjointed bureaucracy whose employees have little experience in food regulation.
- S510 gives FDA the power to dictate growers’ practices by establishing national standards for produce; the same standards applying to big firms—where the food safety problems have occurred—will apply as well to small growers who have had no food safety issues. Small growers will be forced to change practices that have produced safe, quality food.
- Food safety plans can be used to drive small producers out of business for reasons that have nothing to do with food safety; this has been shown by the experience of the meat industry. In that industry, USDA overwhelmed small plants with paperwork requirements, most of which had no connection to safe food; small plants were targeted for a higher number of enforcement actions while there was lax regulation of big plants. There’s nothing in the bill preventing the same thing from happening to small producers subject to the S510 food safety plan requirement.
Click here to let your congressmen and women know how you feel about S510. Fill in your zip code in the box on the right and contact your local state senators.
Click here to sign the petition to reject S.510 and make your voice heard – push back and let your congressmen and women know you won’t allow our freedom and rights to real food disappear!
Click here to go to the National Health Freedom Action page and read more information about how damaging this bill is and how to contact your senators to oppose it!
Photo from Victoria by Liberation Photography.