URGENT ACTION ALERT ON FOOD SAFETY LEGISLATION
The Senate is coming back for the lame duck session, and the Food Safety Modernization Act (S.510) is scheduled for a cloture vote this week. We have asked you to take action on this issue several times this year, and now were in the final push. It is critical that you call your Senators NOW to urge them to amend or oppose S.510!
S.510 greatly expands FDAs authority over both processed foods and fresh fruits and vegetables, and would give FDA authority to impose extensive, burdensome requirements on even the smallest processing facilities and farms that sell to local consumers.
We need the Tester-Hagan amendment to protect our vulnerable local food producers!
Please call BOTH of your Senators. You can find their contact information at www.Senate.gov or by calling the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.
Urge your Senators to amend or oppose S.510, and specifically to:
1) SUPPORT the TESTER-HAGAN AMENDMENT to prevent the imposition of new federal regulations on small-scale, direct-marketing producers.
2) OPPOSE any amendment to add criminal penalties to S.510.
As it is currently written, S.510 would make our food supply LESS safe by harming local producers, increasing our reliance on imported foods due to the burden on domestic producers, and giving FDA new powers without holding the agency accountable for its failures.
1. Small, local food producers have not contributed to the highly publicized foodborne illness outbreaks and should not be subjected to extensive new federal regulation. Although S. 510 includes some provisions that call for flexibility, the bills current language still imposes extensive new requirements on even the smallest farmers and food producers. State and local regulation have already proven to be enough for local food producers; we dont need new federal regulations.
2. Increased regulations and record-keeping obligations could destroy small businesses that bring both jobs and food to local communities. In this time of economic hardship, we need more local food businesses! Congress should work to reduce regulatory burdens on them, not increase them.
3. Food safety and security both come from a diversified, vibrant local food system. Local foods give consumers the choice to buy from producers they know, creating a transparent, accountable food system without federal government oversight.
4. Additional FDA regulation is counterproductive. FDA has not used its existing authority well. Instead of focusing its resources on the problems posed by imported foods and large processing facilities, FDA has chosen to target small processors. While approving unlabeled GMOs to enter our food supply, it has opposed raw milk and interfered with the free choice of informed adults who want access to this healthy food. Simply giving FDA increased authority and power will not improve the food supply unless Congress requires the agency to focus on Agribusiness and not small, local producers.
5. Increased regulation of our domestic food suppliers will lead to greater dependence on imported foods, harming both our economy and our security. The bill will create incentives for retailers to import more food from other countries, because it will burden family farms and small business and because it will be practically impossible to hold foreign food facilities to the same standards and inspections. The bill will create a considerable competitive disadvantage for ALL U.S. agriculture and food production (see analysis at http://ftcldf.org/news/news-20Oct2009-2.html).
6. S.510 does not address many of the fundamental problems with our food. The bill does not cover the factory livestock farms that are the source of dangerous E. coli 0157:H7, nor does it address issues such as BPA, pesticide and herbicide contamination, GMOs, or the many other contaminants that impact our health. It is not productive to focus on bacterial contamination and nothing else.