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Archive for March 24th, 2009

Courtesy of Lynn Cohen Cole

Courtesy of Lynn Cohen Cole

By Richie Gerber

Just when you think things can’t get worse…the esteemed Congresswoman from Connecticut, Democrat Rosa DeLauro introduced H.R. 875 in February. H.R. 875 is called the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, but a more accurate name is THE END OF MOM AND POP FARMING IN AMERICA 2009 aka DEATH TO ORGANIC FARMING.

As you can see I am fuming mad. Julie and I have been involved in the organic movement since the early 70’s with our organic farm in Maine.  Throughout the 80’s and 90’s we sold huge amounts of organic produce in our Bread of Life Natural Foods Stores & Restaurants. We help pass the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) by educating our customers of its importance. DSHEA has been instrumental in giving people access to supplements.

So what’s the problem with H.R. 875 you may ask? It establishes a “Food Safety Administration” within the Department of Health and Human Services. This new department would “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.”

The bill defines a “food production facility” this way:

The term ‘food production facility’ means any farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal-feeding operation.

So that would include…

*All organic farms

*All small farms

*All family farms

*Even small family gardens if you sell any produce to your neighbor

The effect of this bill is to make it extremely difficult if not impossible for small family farmers to comply with the new bureaucratic set of laws. Mountains of paperwork as well as new fees put a huge burden on these Mom and Pops farmers. Even if they just want to sell some tomatoes at their roadside stand or in the local farmers market. The legislation favors the large agro-industrial complex since they have the people to file the paperwork as well as the money needed for the additional fees.

Who is Connecticut Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and why would she introduce HR 875? Her husband Stanley Greenburg works for Monsanto, one of the giant multi-national agro-industrial complex corporations who are in favor of this bill. Is this starting to smell like manure yet? Some of the other giant players like ADM, Sodexo and Tyson are for the bill as well. Here is what Wikepedia says about Monsanto, “The Monsanto Company (NYSE: MON) is an American multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation. It is the world’s leading producer of the herbicide glyphosate, marketed as “Roundup”. Monsanto is also by far the leading producer of genetically engineered (GE) seed, holding 70%–100% market share for various crops. Agracetus, owned by Monsanto, exclusively produces Roundup Ready soybean seed for the commercial market. In March 2005, it finalized the purchase of Seminis Inc, making it also the largest conventional seed company in the world. It has over 18,800 employees worldwide, and an annual revenue of USD$11.365 billion reported for 2008.[2]”

This stinking legislation would add additional costs and headaches to every farm, some fishing boats, slaughterhouses, processing plants, CO-OPs and anyone else associated with growing, storing, transporting or processing plants to name a few. Violators can face multi-million dollar fines. It’s true. I am not kidding.

In Maine Julie and I used to buy our eggs from a small farmer with a couple dozen hens. We bought our milk from a farmer with a handful of cows. Our honey and maple syrup came from some small farmer as well. Now all these small Mom and Pops will have to fill out piles of paperwork online and pay the fees. You and I know it is virtually impossible for the small guy to survive in this environment. Only the large corporations can fully comply with these unusually high and unfair extra burdens.

Ep-BEE-Log: We all need to yell and scream to our congressmen and elected officials. We need to let everyone know that we disapprove of this horrible legislation. Please make your voice heard before it is too late. Now is the time: Let’s Panic-Or No More Organic!!!

 

 

 

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