By James J. Gormley
Here at Citizens for Health (CFH) we’ve been working diligently to keep you updated on all of the latest developments in policy and legislation affecting your health freedoms. One example is S. 510, The Food Safety Modernization Act, which is a flawed effort to improve the government’s system for ensuring the safety of our food supply.
CFH strongly supports food safety, however S. 510 would ultimately make our food less safe, not more. In addition, the bill would do so at the expense of health food retailers, manufacturers, and consumers of natural foods.
While S. 510 has undergone some revisions along the way it still falls far short of what we consider acceptable. And, given that our information suggests it could come up for a vote shortly after Labor Day, there isn’t sufficient time to ensure that the bill is overhauled before a vote comes up.
That is why we need you to send a message to your Senators today using the form at the bottom of this linked page.
Among our concerns:
1) What the bill says: If the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) believes that there is a reasonable probability that the use of or exposure to an article of food (and any other article of food that the Secretary reasonably believes is likely to be affected in a similar manner) will cause serious health consequences, then the source would have to give HHS agents access to all of its records.
Our concerns: Simply believing there’s a potential hazard isn’t enough – there should be proof before HHS intrudes upon the livelihood of our health food manufacturers. Taking it a step further: What constitutes “reasonable,” and by whom is it determined? There needs to be evidence, and it needs to be clear and definitive.
2) What the bill says: It mandates use of Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) as a means of identifying sources of contamination.
Our concern: HACCP is a risk-based algorithmic approach to food safety that allows many shortcuts and involves a monumental amount of expensive paperwork and record-keeping with NO improvements in on-site, physical inspections.
3) What the bill says: If the Secretary determines…that there is a reasonable probability that an article of food is adulterated or misbranded…the Secretary shall provide the responsible party an opportunity to cease distribution and recall such an article.
Our concern: Similar to #1 above, what level of evidence will constitute “reasonable” probability? In addition, the words “adulterated” and “misbranded” have been applied by the FDA so liberally over the years that they’ve become watered down as descriptors of contamination.
And, lastly, the biggest problem of all with S. 510:
4) What the bill says: “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 U.S. is a party.”
Our concern: No other countries ensure that all of their internal regulations are consistent with WTO or any other treaty or international agreement – so why should the United States sacrifice its sovereignty? As if that wasn’t reason enough, we all share the concern about what might happen to the affordability of – and especially our access to – the products and services we choose to maintain our health and wellness if the United States was required to harmonize with the WTO, SPS, the Uruguay Rounds, and Codex!
In an interview here’s what health-freedom attorney Jonathan Emord said about what’s wrong with S. 510:
“The major problem with the bill is that it fails to recognize, let alone protect against, abuses that are common in the inspection process. Moreover, it creates a financial incentive for FDA to perform repeat inspections of facilities as a revenue-raising measure or as a means to penalize financially a company disfavored by the agency. The notion that expanding FDA inspection authority will somehow arrest instances of adulteration is absurd. FDA inspects after complaints are made, not before, and FDA inspections are rarely the means by which the market acts to protect consumers from harm. Most often the company itself acts to reduce the risk of product liability, and the media seizes upon the information and broadcasts it widely. At a time when the nation can ill afford imposition of yet another tax on companies that make essential products, this Congress in its ‘infinite wisdom’ is doing precisely that. S. 510 is a bad idea that will not work to stop adulteration but will enable the FDA to abuse its power and may well drive some good firms out of existence.”
The bottom line: If the above problems and deficiencies are not fixed or eliminated immediately from S. 510, then it must not pass. It gives the HHS/FDA almost limitless authority since it would allow the fox to guard the henhouse. What constitutes reasonable belief and reasonable probability will be moving targets, moved up or down by the FDA at will. By further pushing the risky HAACP algorithmic approach to food safety down industry’s throat, consumers will be less safe since there will a greater reliance on mathematical and statistical hazards models and less reliance on physical, on-site inspections. Furthermore, the sovereignty of U.S. law and regulation will be further undermined and compromised by referencing international standards and bodies in internal U.S. statutes.
Send your letter now, and urge your Senators to Save Safe Food – Stop S. 510! To make sure that language is included banning BPA, please click here.
You haven’t read the latest version, have you? This post isn’t accurate.
what is the latest version ? cg
We have read it…..all 155 pages after the first 88 pages of strikeouts. Please advise as to any specific corrections.
Dear Michael (aka “Guest”),
Well, I went through the new 225-page bill, and most of our biggest concerns are still in the bill, although a couple are no longer there.
1) Re Section 101, the whole “reasonable probability” language is still there.
2) Re Section 102, what qualifies as a food facility is clarified in this version, so our objection on this point will be removed.
3) Re Section 102, the whole “reasonable probability” language is still there.
4) Re Section 418, the whole HACCP language is there.
5) Re Section 418, what is the same or worse from the previous version, the new version includes specific language indicating the enforcement path it will be taking re raw milk products:
‘‘(5) REVIEW.—In promulgating the regulations
17 under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall review reg
18 ulatory hazard analysis and preventive control pro
19 grams in existence on the date of enactment of the
20 FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, including the
21 Grade ‘A’ Pasteurized Milk Ordinance to ensure
22 that such regulations are consistent, to the extent
23 practicable, with applicable domestic and inter
24 nationally-recognized standards in existence on such
6) Re Section 423, the whole “reasonable probability” language re mandatory recalls is there still.
7) Re Section 404, the whole section on Compliance With International Agreements, this worst section is still in the new version.
So, on reviewing this latest version of the bill, one section was improved (re clarifying what a food facility is), and that is important, but the rest of the bad stuff is there, and even worse language re raw milk enforcement, so we will be modifying our post and campaign letter accordingly.
Again, many thanks.
James (for CFH)
As long as this bill intends to limit my access to home-grown foods like raw milk from a farm in which I am an investor, I will do everything in my power to fight its passage. I will appear naked in Congress if I have to, to get their attention. Both of my parents grew up on farms, as did many of my cousins (my dad had 9 siblings). We drank raw milk all summer long, right out of the cow’s udder. Our family all lives healthfully into their 90s, so you idiots with the pasteurization can go jump in any convenient body of water. You’re all wet in any case, as the science does NOT back you up. Why do you think milkmaids had such perfect skin? Because they were inoculated by the cow’s milk against all sorts of diseases including smallpox. Raw milk is one of the best foods for those suffering from all sorts of chronic disorders. I am a primary healthcare practitioner in the State of NY, and I know from both personal experience and from reading the research literature available on this subject that raw milk is safer than the pasteurized milk produced by corporate farms. It’s just that simple. Small family farms CARE about their products, that’s why they live on a farm and produce things by hand. Corporations don’t give two shits about anybody, all they want is huge profits. Who am I going to trust my food to? The family farmer, hands down, every single time.
We need more committed ‘Citizens for Health’ like you and your family.
I had my first glass of raw milk at the Hawthorne Valley Farm in Ghent/Harlemville, New York, this summer, and it is the most amazing tasting milk I have ever had in my life, and I was already a milk lover!
As a health-food writer and editor I had always heard good things about it, nutritionally, but now I also know how fantastic raw milk is—the raw-milk cheeses I had tasted over the years (and also love).
I will reach out to you offline as well.
James (for CFH)
CFH needs to reach out to PIRG which has been misled into pushing the bill. Political groups like PIRG as well as medical/justice/anti-war/religious groups and progressive media need to be reached personally by CFH.
Just read Alison Rose Levy’s post at HuffPost and conclude, after listening to her interview with James Turner, that this bill is really bad and needs reworking. How about writing an update post on this very important issue?
(I wish you had a share button on this blog so I could share posts on Facebook.)
SAVE SAFE FOOD STOP S.510
SAVE SAFE FOODS
S. 510 is a very bad bill and must be eliminated! The FDA can take it and shove it! Monsanto needs to be destroyed; it is a dangerous corporation!
John Prine… throw away the TV, move out to the country,… grow your own.
And Hippocrates… let your food be your medicine.
leave the health food alone! you have no right to go after health food and their retailers. If you have to go after someone go after the drug dealers. Just because they are mean and kill you go after the nice guys. well, stop it! S. 510 needs to be eliminated. Go do something productive!
What I really would like to see is a law that demands food products disclose EVERY ingredient ON THE LABEL in standard language. They should not be allowed to change the name of an ingredient to hide it’s insidious presence; only use common, acceptable vernacular. Then let us citizens have the freedom to choose for ourselves! That is real freedom. It would simplify the mess of proving safety, because we could tell at a glance whether we wanted to put the stuff in our mouths.
stop S510 bill or we all will be a slave to the goverment and big corp food companys.
Americans should preserve the freedom to do anything they damn well please, even sky diving, even drinking raw milk (whatever that is), that barely keeps them alive. If the FDA wants to restrict something, let it be that evil fluoride in tooth paste. That at least is damaging the brains of innocent young children and even killing them if they eat the whole tube. I have a petition to make fluoride in tooth paste a prescription drug. Perhaps if you were to write in to the FDA it would make it more certain to be approved (docket # 2007p-0070/CP1). Their phone is; Nichol Mueller – 301 796 3479. Their address is FDA, Dockets Management,5630 Fisher’s Lane,Room 1061, Rockville,MD 20853 .
I lived in Salt Lake City for many years and back in the ’70’s and early ’80’s raw milk could be purchased legally there at several local dairies. It was wonderful and a known fact that it was cleaner and more healthful than homogenized and pasteurized milk. The State later made it illegal to purchase raw milk anywhere–a huge travesty in my view. We must not let the Federal government dictate to us about natural foods and home grown foods in any way, shape or form. Natural birth, natural food and non-invasive natural health care are God given rights. Government has no business involved here.
The Bill S. 510 must be stop in order to save the safe healthy food grown by private citizens and local private family farms otherwise we will be end up less choice of foods we want to eat in order have our health compromise. Thank You very much for taking your time reading a dire warning message. A. Catalano
Something is wrong with your letter to our Senators. The letter and the “fields” to fill in were partially legible, especially as you approach the end of the letter and Fields to fill in. It appears that the letter needs to occupy the whole page not half the page where we loose some of the script. Otherwise the letter to the senators might not reach them.
Please stop S-105.
I wish the FDA had people’s health as their top concern. I agree, they are all in it for the money. Shame on you FDA and all you pharmaceutical companies.