Tuesday, November 30, 2010

S510 and what it means

10:04 PM by Hegrins ·
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Earlier today S510 passed in the Senate according to breaking news from Fox Business. The bill still needs to be passed by the House since there were amendments made in order to get it passed through the Senate, but since the House originally passed it, it should pass there as well. S510 is not as bad as some people have made it out to be, but it is still not a good bill for consumers or farmers.

I am not able to see the amendments to the bill since govtracker hasn't updated the amendments, but FBN reports that one of them was to exempt any business selling less than $500,000 in sales. When the story broke a couple of weeks ago I took the time to read S510. I see there are some really scary parts such as the FDA and EPA control. I have posted below the articles that are the most concerning.

Section 109 - Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to report annually on the activities of the Food and Agriculture Government Coordinating Council and the Food and Agriculture Sector Coordinating Council.

Section 202 - Requires the Secretary to: (1) recognize bodies that accredit laboratories with a demonstrated capability to conduct analytical testing of food products; (2) establish a publicly available registry of accreditation bodies; (3) develop model standards that an accreditation body shall require laboratories to meet; and (4) periodically reevaluate accreditation bodies and revoke recognition of any not in compliance with this section. Sets forth requirements for mandatory testing, including that: (1) testing be conducted by federal laboratories or accredited nonfederal laboratories; and (2) results of such testing be sent directly to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Requires the Secretary to review results from any sampling and testing that lead to a state or locality issuing a food recall to evaluate the need for a national recall or other compliance and enforcement activities. Requires the Secretary to report to the relevant congressional committees on the progress in implementing a national food emergency response laboratory network.

Section 208 - Revises the standard for the administrative detention of food to allow such a detention if the FDA has reason to believe that such article is adulterated or misbranded.
Section 209 - Requires the Administration of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide support for, and technical assistance to, state, local, and tribal governments in preparing for, assessing, decontaminating, and recovering from an agriculture or food emergency

Section 303 - Requires imported food that fails to meet requirements for a certification or other assurance that the food meets applicable FFDCA requirements to be refused admission. Authorizes the Secretary to require, as a condition of granting admission to an article of food into the United States, that an entity provide a certification or other assurances that the article of food complies with applicable FFDCA requirements.

Section 307 - Authorizes the Secretary to enter into arrangements and agreements with foreign governments to facilitate the inspection of registered foreign facilities. Requires the Secretary to direct resources to inspections of foreign facilities, supplies, and food types to help ensure the safety and security of the U.S. food supply. Requires food to be refused admission into the United States if permission to inspect the food facility is denied by the facility owner, operator, or agent or the foreign country.

Section 310 - Requires the Secretary to: (1) develop and implement a strategy to better identify sand prevent entry into the United States of smuggled food; and (2) notify the DHS Secretary not later than ten days after identifying a smuggled food that would cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals. Requires a press release to warn consumers and vendors about a potential threat from smuggled food if certain requirements are met.

Section 404 - Declares that nothing in this Act shall be construed in a manner inconsistent with the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization or any other treaty or international agreement to which the United States is a party.

Section 406 - Requires the Secretary, acting through the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, to study the transportation of food for consumption in the United States, including an examination of the unique needs of rural and frontier areas with regard to the delivery of safe food.

Source: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-510&tab=summary

My basic understanding is that we're allowing the EPA, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, and FDA to have control of our food supply. Although this bill does put in place essential needed safeguards to protect our food supply from certain contamination and threats into our main food supply. Unfortunately we're in a time where we have people trying to terrorize our citizens in anyway possible including attacks on food, water, air, and financial aspects of our society. This doesn't mean that we need such an over reaching arm of multiple government agencies because the cost in some instances are greater than the benefit.

This bill concerns me if it passes through the House because it will ultimately raise the cost of food because of many factors including government inspectors on site, EPA oversight, and regulations that require higher costs in food production. This also opens the doors to government attacks against businesses or countries because this will hamper competition and possibly lead to corruption.

Each of these government agencies has their own agenda and I warn you now that each of them will fight for a piece of control so they may expand their influence. The EPA's wants to further the Global Warming agenda. In my environmental science class the question was raised about which was worse, 2 Hummers or 1 cow? The right answer was 2 Hummers because cows put out high amounts of Methane gas. Also, irrigation will be attacked by the EPA because the lack of grass or tree's to hold down the dirt causes erosion and loss of nutrients. All this will be because of section 209 allowing the EPA to be an adviser to the government.

The FDA also has their own agenda which is mostly money. The FDA has allowed prescription drug companies to make up for profit losses in socialist countries inside the US by making it illegal to purchase prescriptions from countries like Canada. The FDA has been accused on many occasions of being on the take from Drug and Tobacco companies. Another thing to realize that with the FDA being in the mix of government agencies is that they will control what additives are allowed in our foods. This only gets dicey if the FDA either goes on the take or they decide to add things such as calming agents or appetite suppressant into the food. This is just an opportunity that the FDA would have, but this could be a slippery slope.

The stated agenda of Homeland Security is to protect the homeland from terrorist attacks, but like we've seen with the TSA, Homeland Security could and would usurp the FDA and EPA to use them as agents. Although section 404 states that this act will not override NAFTA or any other free trade treaties, Homeland Security could. Homeland Security is probably the biggest political arm of any Presidential Administration. We've seen what happens when Homeland Security decides to enforce security because of their reactionary policy of “Death of a thousand cuts” by Al Queda.

The bottom line is this stinks of so much government bureaucracy that in the end all Americans will be paying more at the grocery store and possibly shrinking the number of competitors in this industry. The one thing about Capitalism is that costs are passed onto the consumer. The biggest question is to ask “does this help or hurt us”? I think that this does more harm than good because of the biggest power players in government agencies are going to be jockeying for power to control this industry. Although we need to make sure to keep out borne illnesses from our main food supply, but the cost benefit analysis of this isn't anywhere near positive nor is it a necessary evil either.


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