Anyone Know Anything About HR 875?

mo_girlMarch 20, 2009

If this is the wrong place to discuss this, please remove.

I have been hearing some alarming things about HR 875. It is currently in committee in the House of Representatives, and is said to be a threat to organic farming, small farmers, and perhaps even gardeners. It is billed as a food safety bill, which sounds well and good, but some argue it would give the government far too much control and big farming corporations a monopoly.

Here are links:

Here is the full text of the bill:

Does anyone know anything more about this? It sounds frightening, but I don't want to get too worked up over nothing.

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token28001(zone7b NC)

I've read most of the text of the bill. What it pertains to are farms that supply food, mostly. It's written to be a food safety bill, but the language is too broad. It will most likely cause problems for even backyard gardeners who want to sell their products at farmer's markets. If you aren't selling or donating your food, it's not an issue. Again, the gov't has tried to make us safe through legislation, but it's too much and too invasive.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 4:48AM
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Actually, the bill does say "any" food producers and farms, while at the same time not telling us what, exactly, the definition of "farm" is. Whether you sell or not makes no difference, because the bill doesn't specify.

It's a bad bill: overreaching, overreacting, and nowhere in the Constitution or Bill of Rights is the government allowed to mess with the food supply in any way, particularly when it comes to individual gardeners.

Call and write your Congresscreature!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 9:42AM
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nancy_drew(5 nw chgo burbs)

That may not be the answer, but I worry about the innocent tomato farmers and peanut farmers, who are really hurting because of food "scares". Their livelihood depends on our confidence.

As a mother, I becoming more and more worried about safety. I am starting to worry about the land I want to grow my own food on being contaminated... I might have to go the raised bed route, and even then, how can I be sure it truly IS safe?

As far as the govt involvement in our food supply... isn't that the FDA? What about the Agriculture department? The govt has been involved in the food supply for a very, very long time, and in many, many ways.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 11:07AM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Congress is allowed to intervene when interstate commerce is happening. They are certainly allowed to meddle in the affairs of imports and even in the safety of food, but I agree, this bill is overreaching and needs to be tossed out. The bill's author is married to a lobbyist for Monsanto.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 11:37AM
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IN addition, it sounds to me like it is in the wrong Department. That will just be another one of those cases where one branch of the government is watching another. We have too much government now IMHO.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 12:06PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

No religion and no politics. This should be removed.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 1:12PM
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I guess I didn't see this as a liberal vs. conservative thing, rather something that could potentially negatively effect farmers/gardeners, whatever their political persuasion. On the other hand, I like the Winter Sowing Forum because of its lack of controversy and friendliness toward everyone, so I understand if this is removed. I apologize if I caused offense.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 1:57PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

I know you didn't mean to offend. This is an issue meant for somewhere else. IMHO

If you feel strongly about your cause, please pursue it, I for one, am grateful for those who do.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 2:12PM
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I love reading every ones opinion,i learn a lot from all of you,another great thing about this forum,every one is always so eager to share their opinion,in a non threatening way,pro's and con's.
I did not even know this bill was out there,so, i ,for one,thank you for drawing it to my attention,i will pass this on to my friends,thanks,

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 2:19PM
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This is similar to the brouhaha that happened when the CPSIA (a consumer protection safety act) on Feb 10. Short notice was given, it affects grannies who crochet baby booties to sell on Etsy (among the other thousands of people it touches) and in short, was a knee jerk reaction to the lead paint issue in toys last year.

For instance, it says vaguely any "children's product for children under the age of 12" should be independently tested for lead. Ok for the big guys, not for the little guys.. Let's say you make cute baby dresses to sell on etsy...thread? test it. buttons? test it? fabric from three sources? test all three. Cost to test it? Oh, maybe 2000.00 per item BEFORE YOU CAN SELL IT. If you make another style, using DIFFERENT COLORS OF THREAD, different buttons, have to TEST IT AGAIN.

We're talking about everything from clothes to a magic marker to a library book. (Note from CPSA--"You should remove these books from shelves and warehouse them so that the ink can be checked for lead.)

Sad, but true.....

OP, thanks for the heads up on the farm bill....

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 2:49PM
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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

So, how is the winter sowing going?

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 3:28PM
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Please email your representative and all your senators. More importantly these bills are in the following committees you must email these folks or call them and tell them this is not what is best for the health of the population for a number of reasons here are just a few. The top ten killers in the US are as follows: Heart Disease, Cancer, Stroke, Chronic Lower Resp. Disease, Accidents, Diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, Influenza/Pneumonia, Nephritis, and Septicemia. None of these have anything to do with food borne illnesses nor can any agency on the planet can prove we have a severe food borne illness issue. If they are so worried about the populations health why not tackle the top ten killers in the US. What has been proven is many herbicides/pesticides that farmers use are closely linked to cancer. The first lady (Mrs. Obama) just started her own organic garden to promote a healthy public; according to HR 875 if it were to pass she will potentially be breaking the law; so why the confliction? Mrs. Obama promoting healthy ORGANIC food and new legislation clearly stating that in order to promote health farmers/ranchers must use harsh chemicals and drugs? Lastly these bills are causing unjust overhead to the small organic farmer who will be forced to either raise their prices or go out of business leaving the large agriculture factories a monopoly.
Here is the link to the first lady and her organic garden.
Here is a link to a website that will provide all the links to the bills just search for HR 875, S 425, HR 814, HR 759. Note all these bills attack the organic farmers by either outlawing organic food or creating monster financial overhead/burden for them thereby forcing them out of business.
Here is a link to find your representatives and senators.
Remember these bills are in committees you must email those folks.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 5:01PM
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token28001(zone7b NC)

Bakemom, the wintersowing thing is going great. They'll have to pry my containers from my cold dead hands if they try to keep me from growing tomatoes.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 5:05PM
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Bakemom, I am loving winter sowing this year as well. This is my third year. I didn't do as many containers as I have the last couple years, as some of the space is filled in by previous year's perennials. I'd say probably 80% of my containers have sprouts!

Thanks for the extra info from those who have a better understanding of this than I do.

Token, that is too funny. I was just recently telling my husband that gardeners are normally peaceful people, but they would have to pry the tomatoes out of my cold, dead hands :)

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 5:48PM
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This is directly from THOMAS

Title: To establish the Food Safety Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services to protect the public health by preventing food-borne illness, ensuring the safety of food, improving research on contaminants leading to food-borne illness, and improving security of food from intentional contamination, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Rep DeLauro, Rosa L. [CT-3] (introduced 2/4/2009) Cosponsors (41)
Latest Major Action: 2/4/2009 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and in addition to the Committee on Agriculture, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.

Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 - Establishes in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) the Food Safety Administration. Assigns all the authorities and responsibilities of the Secretary of Health and Human Services related to food safety to the Administrator of Food Safety.

Transfers to the Administration all functions of specified federal agencies that relate to the administration or enforcement of food safety laws. Renames the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the Federal Drug and Device Administration.

Directs the Administrator to: (1) administer a national food safety program; and (2) ensure that persons who produce, process, or distribute food prevent or minimize food safety hazards. Sets forth requirements for the Administrator to carry out such duties, including: (1) requiring food establishments to adopt preventive process controls; (2) enforcing performance standards for food safety; (3) establishing an inspection program; (4) strengthening and expanding foodborne illness surveillance systems; (5) requiring imported food to meet the same standards as U.S. food; and (6) establishing a national traceability system for food.

Requires the Administrator to: (1) identify priorities for food safety research and data collection; (2) maintain a DNA matching system and epidemiological system for foodborne illness identification, outbreaks, and containment; (3) establish guidelines for a sampling system; (4) establish a national public education program on food safety; (5) conduct research on food safety; and (6) establish a working group on foodborne illness surveillance.

Requires the Secretary, acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to develop the Food-Borne Illness Health Registry.

Directs the Comptroller General to report on the federal resources being dedicated to foodborne illness and food safety research.

Sets forth provisions regarding prohibited acts, recalls, penalties for violations of food safety laws, whistleblower protections, and civil actions.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 6:34PM
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This is an off topic subject and should be moved to conversations. I hope that Mo_Girl will contact iVillage and ask them to move this post to Conversations.

For the rest of the thread I think folks should back up any innuendo and gathered-off-the-net opinions with facts and/or links. We are Winter Sowers and we should respect each other by providing further information sources that we can all read to form our own opinions. Like where did you hear what? Give us a link please. In other words, if you're getting hype from blogs or non-government and/or extension web pages put in a link so the info can be read by all and accepted or dismissed because innuendo and opinion promoted as fact causes more harm than good. If you have gov and ext sites with info please share those links too.

Personally, from my perspective, we need MORE government control over the food supply. Tell anyone whose loved one has died or been poisoned by contaminated food that you don't think food needs to inspected. They'll likely knock you right back on your a--. Once upon a lifetime ago I was an EMT; I got to read a lot of tragic cases and I got to observe a few too.

Food poisoning is a horrible awful painful agonizing way to die. Greed inspires unethical behavior. Someone doesn't want to pay to wash the greens, someone doesn't want the man hours to sanitize the factory, someone doesn't want to take stale-dated foods off the shelves, someone cuts corners and accepts the lowest quality produce instead of the higher quality that is advertised, somebody sells known contaminated projects rather than destroying them. Odwalla is an example--I don't even know how they remained in business but I will NEVER buy any of their products.

Foods safety is a health issue, it is an economic issue, and it is also a security issue. Like it or lump it--its not going away.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 7:07PM
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I don't know that I've been in the Conversations forum, so I didn't think about posting it there. I submitted a request that this post be deleted or moved. I believe this subject deserves discussion, but this was probably not the proper forum.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 7:40PM
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Thank you Mo for your rapid response.

Way to go Mo!


    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 7:50PM
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