Food Safety: Congress Loses Its Way

By Jim Turner, Chairman, Citizens For Health

congress strings

This Wednesday, November 18th, the U.S. Senate plans to consider a massive “food safety” bill entitled “The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act”.

This bill (S. 510) will strengthen the forces that for the past fifty years have led to unsafe, nutritionally compromised food and will undermine growing efforts working to thwart those forces. (To read the bill and view co-sponsors, go to www.thomas.loc.gov and enter “Food Safety Modernization Act” in the search field).

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said, “Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficial“. The Senate’s food safety initiative, though intended to be beneficial, follows the House version by leading food down the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “modernization” path that Congress designed for drugs. (This House version, H.R. 2749, has the same drawbacks and originally failed; later in the same week it was passed under different rules).

Click here to send a letter to your Senators urging them to amend or oppose S. 510!

The FDA’s drug modernization approach places high-cost drugs at the heart of a dangerously costly health system, contributes to thousands of drug-related deaths, and leads to the approval of many unsafe drugs that end up being recalled. It also makes FDA drug regulation perilously dependent on the financial support the agency receives from drug company fees.

S. 510 – in keeping with this flawed drug modernization path – gives powerful incentives to large, concentrated food manufacturers (the sources of the most significant threats to our food so far) while undercutting producers that are smaller, safer, and often local.

Today Citizens for Health launches its food safety campaign and our first goal is to amend or defeat S 510. If the bill passes without any meaningful, substantive changes, we will seek a Presidential Veto. If the bill that is finally signed fails to address our concerns sufficiently we will work to establish and implement regulations to minimize the negative impact on food safety that will surely result, and we will redouble our efforts to maximize the food choices and food and health information available to all.

And, remember: we are not opposing food safety. We are working to advance it by opposing misguided attempts to build a flawed, drug-like bureaucratic structure on top of a crumbling food safety foundation that desperately needs to be shored up and repaired.

We need your help to win – click here and send your letter to your Senators now!

During this process we will regularly address key food safety issues and the food safety decisions we make – as a nation and as individuals – that shape our lives. It is essential that we all have the opportunity to understand how these issues and decisions affect our ability to trust our food supply. In a very real sense we, as a nation, are what we eat.

We welcome a robust discourse – here at Citizens.org, in your community, and in policy. And, ultimately, we all look forward to safer, healthier, more trustworthy food.

On a final note, consider this remark by Mark Twain: “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session.” Now is the time to act to minimize the damage that will result from passage of S. 510.

I thank you for staying involved in this discourse and look forward to hearing from you. Take a moment to share your comments at blogcomments@citizens.org, and don’t forget to click here now to send a letter to your Senators urging them to oppose or overhaul S. 510.

James S. Turner, Esq.
Board Chair
Citizens for Health

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Comments (5)

great post, jim.

Folk’s

I am with you a hundred %. But there seems
to be a problem with your site or my machine.

I put my name on the letter, and although there was an arrow pointing down. I could not
get past the letter. There was no way I could
submit it. Or even to find out what info. you
need from me. So, all I can say isthat you are
welcome to add my name to the 3 Montana’s Sen.

And you are welcome to contact me through my
web Address if you need more info.

Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

Barbara Gerber

And I can’t seem to get this submitted. They
tell methereis a problem with your page. But I will try a 3rd. time.

Hi Barbara, thanks for letting us know that you’re having this problem. we’ll take a look into it. fyi, nearly 4,000 letters to senators have been generated through this system in the last 24 hours…so that leads me to believe the issue has something to do with compatibility with your computer. thanks for participating on citizens.org!

Very important to get the word out widely.

However, Wanted you to know that Byron Dorgan has said he will not be running again for the Senate.

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