I’m sure that everyone who reads this blog is aware of The Food Safety Modernization Act (H.R. 875). The small farm blogosphere has been aflame over it. For any who might not know, the bill would subject every farm in America (which it refers to as “food production facilities”) to unannounced inspection and survellience, federally promulgated “safe food” practices (no doubt to be drawn up in consultation with the lobbyists of industrial agriculture), costly registration requirements, and a host of other bureaucratic pestilences. Contrary to some of the hyperbole in cyberspace, it does not outlaw organic agriculture. But it does invade more of our liberties, and it does impose additional and unwarranted expense on small farms. Once created, this “Food Safety Administration” will be yet another federal invasion of our homes and farms, and, of course, it will not make industrial food any less unhealthy and unsafe.
But in all the uproar over HR 875, other bills that should be equally unacceptable are getting less attention. The Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act (HR 759) requires electronic bar coding equipment for farms of every size, regardless of whether they pose any real risk to consumers. Likewise the Safe Food Enforcement, Assessment, Standards and Targeting Act (HR 1332) which goes by the ominously ironic acronym FEAST, would enact mandatory standards at all levels in the food chain, from the farm to point of sale.
Small farm advocacy groups are fighting these bills and others like them. They are products of a culture that is completely ignorant of how food is produced, and utterly dependent upon the government for the illusion of protection.
Industrial food is unhealthy and unsafe. No new federal agency, no onerous traceability requirements and no federal standards promulgated in the Ag departments of land grant universities (which are the personal property of industrial agriculture) will change that.
We need less government, not more. The title of Joel Salatin’s latest book says it all, “Everything I Want to Do is Illegal.”
The best way to insure the safety of the food you eat, is to grow it yourself. Or buy it from farmers you know, who feed it to their own families.
Congress should just quit making things worse. But if it insists on spanking itself, by passing a new law everytime someone gets sick off industrial peanut butter, we should demand that small farmers be exempted.