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HR 2749 – An Act to Control the Food Supply and Penalize Even Gardners

June 17, 2009

Dear FDA: The American People can see through your smoke screen. You will not win!

On May 26, leading members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee released a discussion draft of the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 (FSEA).  Committee members supporting FSEA include Chair Henry Waxman (D-CA), Chair Emeritus John Dingell (D-MI), Frank Pallone (D-NJ, Chair of the Health Subcommittee), and Bart Stupak (D-MI, Chair of the Oversight and Investigation Subcommittee).

Even before the FSEA was formally introduced, the Health Subcommittee held a hearing on the discussion draft on June 3.  (Six other food safety bills have been introduced, but none have gotten a hearing yet.)   The discussion draft, with some changes, was introduced as HR 2749 on June 8 by Rep. Dingell.  Rep. Pallone introduced an amendment “in the nature of a substitute to HR 2749″ on June 10.  This version of HR 2749 has been voted out of the Health Subcommittee and is now headed to the full Energy and Commerce Committee for mark-up on June 17.  The bill is on the fast track.

Passage of the FSEA into law would amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA).  The bill proposes a substantial increase in power and resources for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and would significantly diminish existing judicial restraints on actions taken by the agency.  Although the bill includes some provisions that could improve the mainstream food system, many of these are  vaguely worded and do not clearly define the scope of the agency’s power, creating the potential for inappropriate application and enforcement.  Small farms and local artisanal producers are part of the solution to the food safety problem in this country; the bill would impose on them a one-size-fits-all regulatory scheme and would disproportionately impact their operations for the worse.  A detailed analysis of some of the key provisions is below [the citations are to the relevant section and page number of the June 10 version of the bill].

“Manufacturing/processing” is defined as “making food from one or more ingredients, or synthesizing, preparing, treating, modifying or manipulating food, including food crops or ingredients.  Examples of manufacturing/processing activities are cutting, peeling, trimming, washing, waxing, eviscerating, rendering, cooking, baking, freezing, cooling, pasteurizing, homogenizing, mixing, formulating, bottling, milling, grinding, extracting juice, distilling, labeling, or packaging.” [21 CFR § 1.227(6)]  In other words, any farm that makes jam, cans vegetables, or packages cut fruit would not be considered a “farm” under the regulation unless the food is consumed only on the farm!

To view more please click here: Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund

I highly incourage that you read this bill for yourself: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h111-2749

AND to contact your legislatures and tell them to vote this down!

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