March 19, 2009

The food safety bill shuffle

H.R.759, one of a few food safety bills before congress and the one most likely to be passed, isn't receiving the rhetoric and reaction that HR 875 is arousing. Tom Philpot's article Food Scare has reassured me that although very vague, much of the buzz around HR 875 is misdirected.

HR 759 has a good chance, unlike 875 of getting through and as Jill Richardson points out there are a few good things about Dingall's Bill, currently in committee.
But really worrisome is its desire to regulate produce:
"The Secretary (FDA) shall establish by regulation science-based minimum standards for the safe production and harvesting of those types of fruits and vegetables that are raw agricultural commodities"
FDA's science based standards for vegetable production? Will Monsanto, Bayer, Cargill, et al, have a hand in designing said standards? What level of sterility will be required in our big gardens and farms as we forgo bacteria for chemical combatants?

All these bills remind me of the cup and coin trick: which one is it under? We know Big Ag wants control of the food supply. We know that they have deep influence in congress. I think these food safety bills need more scrutiny and less hysteria. And yes, I am Canadian. But it seems that what Americans do has that inevitable trickle down effect. And this bill HR 759 is aimed at the global market. Here is the full text of the bill.

Interesting to note that there is no provision or mention of nanoparticles.


Anonymous said...

Very well put. It feels like we are always putting out fires and having to look out for subtexts. Keeps us on our toes, I guess but it would be nice to be able to concentrate on real work...
EJ in Slocan Valley

anne said...

Hello EJ in the Slocan! :).

I am concerned that with this current batch of bills that may be the point.