Outlawed...

 

The fruit farmers in Paonia have been a bit worried about our weird weather. Spring came early, so the trees started budding. And this week, it’s been cold – sometimes freezing. If it gets too frosty, we might be out of luck for the season.

Something else that’s on farmers' minds: H.R. 875, a bill sponsored by Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro, D-Conn. Organically-minded bloggers are saying that her husband is on Monsanto’s payroll, and we all know Monsanto is the arch nemesis of organically-minded people! But to clarify, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Monsanto hasn’t been a client of Stanley Greenberg’s (DeLauro’s husband) for more than 10 years.

Now all the organos are saying that this bill, if passed, will do in small-scale local farms.

The bill is called the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009. Basically, DeLauro seeks to establish a Food Safety Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services, so that foods and drugs are not regulated under the same entity. It makes sense: you don’t keep your veggies in the medicine cabinet, do you?

Check out the H.R. 875 summary and/or the complete bill.

If the bill passes, it will require that food establishments adopt preventive process controls to maintain food safety. The administrator will establish an inspection program, require imported food to meet the same standards as U.S. foods, and establish a national traceability system for food.

Small local farmers don’t have the money it takes to pay for federal inspections. That’s why many are not certified organic to begin with, though often, produce from these farms is grown with higher standards.

Even Monsanto recognizes this. On their blog, called For the Record, Monsanto said this week that small enterprises “would be hurt disproportionately by the fixed costs of regulation that larger businesses can spread across more revenue.”

Duh.

The Obama Foodorama blog (Obfo) sees many problems, most of which revolve around what the bill seeks to accomplish and how much money it'll take. “Less than one percent of imported food is inspected, and we import, dollar for dollar, more food annually than the entire EconomicStim package is going to cost.” And on the note of tracing where your food comes from, Obfo says it’s unlikely that our government will ever have explicit control over the derivation of our food. That’s too socialistic!

Currently, the bill is in review by two House committees. It’s doubtful that it’ll make it any further; the bill just seems too vague and open-ended. And DeLauro's previous attempts at similar bills have been shot down. But if it gets through Congress, the Obamas would have to consider their own White House garden before making any decisions. If you want to hold your representatives responsible, call the House of Representatives switchboard at: (202) 224 – 3121.