June 19, 2007

Gutting Food Safety Laws

I don't really have time to write in more detail about this, so I'll hand the floor to a press release sent out on behalf of forty consumer, environmental, farmer and animal welfare groups:

The country’s food safety is facing heightened threats from food imports, federal agencies (FDA and USDA) suffering from years of staff and budget cuts, and the introduction of new food technologies not addressed by existing federal laws. To meet shortfalls in America’s inadequate food safety net, state and local regulators are stepping forward to keep our food safe.

Now, at a time when state food safety laws are increasingly important, the House Agriculture Committee is considering a 2007 Farm Bill that would prohibit state and local officials from addressing many of the food safety threats they currently regulate against. Section 123, Title I, of the bill is a sweeping provision that would:

  • Usurp powers traditionally exercised by states and localities to protect public health, summarily wiping out important food safety and farmer protections in place in states and municipalities across the nation.

  • And as currently worded, it could make it impossible for a local restaurant inspector or public health official to remove rodent-contaminated or spoiled meat and poultry products from the market.

  • Negate state and local laws designed to protect the economic interests of farmers and the health of consumers in relation to genetically engineered crops. Currently, states have laws regulating GE foods and more are being discussed in state legislatures.

Given the problems in just the last two months with melamine-contaminated animal feed from China being fed to hogs and chickens, with listeria in cooked chicken, and with e coli in ground beef, this is the wrong time to usurp the right of states and localities to protect their citizens. ...

Following below the fold are the names of the members of the House Agriculture Committee. If you live in one of their districts, irrespective of which party they belong to, you can tell them that you oppose Section 123, Title I, of the 2007 Farm Bill and want to preserve the authority of your local health inspectors to protect the public from contaminated food, and of state legislators to protect farmers from having their crops contaminated by genetically modified organisms.

You can find out which Congressional District you're in here, and can call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to ask to be put through to your representative's office.

House Agriculture Committee



Posted by natasha at June 19, 2007 03:51 PM | Food | Technorati links |