Criminalizing Healthy Food Paves Way for TPP*
By Larry Bowers
IN 2008, Canadian conservatives introduced a wildly unpopular Bill C-51—the Food and Drugs Act—legislation regulating foods, therapeutic products and cosmetics. Enraged vendors of herbs, supplements, and other natural remedies fought back hard. Conservatives didn’t proceed with the Bill, but instead introduced C-36, the Consumer Product Safety Act, in 2010. C-36 is essentially a revised version of C-51 with the supplements marked as exempt.
Two weeks after the United States passed its most restrictive legislation yet against health freedoms (the Food Safety Modernization Act, S.510), its Canadian counterpart, Bill C-36, was passed into law in December 2010 and will soon go into effect.
more info at www.crookreport.co.uk
Bill C-36 purports to protect the consumer, but what it actually does is abrogate the Rule of Law and grant police forces powers of invasion, arrest and confiscation on the mere suspicion that ‘unsafe’ consumer products are being sold, without the involvement of the courts. ‘Violators’ are to be assumed guilty until proven innocent. Additional provisions bypass Parliamentary procedure, thereby giving authority by decree to foreign organizations. Such unconstitutional legislation is no stranger in the Senate. Previous bills C-51, C-52, and C-6 (Anti-Terrorism Act) were all squashed, never reaching final reading status. Bill C-6 effectively died during the prorogation of Parliament early last year and was reincarnated as bill C-36 in the summer of 2010.
The exemption of natural supplements appears to have satisfied the natural health industry as C-36 has slid through with little complaint. According to Shawn Buckley, president of the Natural Health Products Protection Association, C-36 could however be a Trojan horse of sorts. All that needs to happen now is a reintroduction of C-51 and we’re right back where we started – health freedoms reduced to zero. From Canada’s Preventdisease.com, the salient features of the Bill are as follows:
S.510 – Fascist Food Safety Legislation
- Abolishing protection from trespass, a court-ordered warrant, and the need for court-supervised search and seizure;
- Based only on suspicion, health inspectors with the aid of police can invade any location in the country, seize and confiscate goods deemed unsafe … and violate the constitutional rights of all parties involved;
- – it bypasses existing laws on privacy and confidentiality and explicitly exempts the Minister of Health and government inspectors from any kind of third-party oversight and accountability; – the need to publish regulations governing the activities of the inspectors is abolished too;
- – access to the courts seriously limited; – astronomical fines are to be handed out for crimes committed on the Mini ter’s presumption of guilt, which requires no supporting evidence for independent examination;
- – even the corporate shield would disappear, because corporate directors would be legally liable for the actions of their employees – which actions would be deemed criminal based solely on the opinion of the Minister, not of the courts;
- – this bill allows foreign governments and institutions, like CODEX and the World Trade Organization, to have the same powers over Canadians in all these matters outlined above, as if they were part of their own government. So, are Canada and the US in a race to Fascism? It appears so. North Americans are facing the erosion of basic health freedoms and with it, the general rule of law.
On December 19, 2010, following two years of debates, lobbying, and campaigning by supporters and critics of a piece of legislation costing $1.4 billion that would create greater regulations around food safety, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA, originally S.510) passed the US Senate as an amendment to H.R. 2751 (the “Cash for Clunkers” Bill).
The Senate passed FSMA by “unanimous consent” without a recorded vote and sent it back to the House for final approval. This bill has been fought every step of the way by grass roots organizations such as the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF), the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF), and local CSAs/Co-ops. Consumers across the nation were repeatedly rallied to pressure their representatives to protect small farms and producers from burdensome regulations, inspections and paperwork proposed, in the bill, to be carried out by 5,000 additional FDA inspectors. As a result of these efforts the bill contains the Tester-Hagan Amendment which exempts small farms/producers whose adjusted annual gross income does not exceed $500,000.
The legislation itself is horrible and does little to address core health issues. The FTCLDF summarizes S.510 in the following way:
- FDA does not respect individuals’ rights to obtain healthy, quality foods of their choice. The agency has stated as a matter of public record, that: “There is no absolute right to consume or feed children any particular food… Plaintiffs’ assertion of a ‘fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health, which includes what foods they do and do not choose to consume for themselves and their families, is similarly unavailing because plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish.”
- FDA has adequate powers under existing law to ensure food safety and effectively deal with food-borne illness outbreaks. FDA has power to inspect, power to detain product and can readily obtain court orders to seize adulterated or mis-branded food products or enjoin them from being sold. The problem isn’t that FDA needs more power; it’s that FDA does not effectively use the power it currently has. The agency has power to inspect imported food, yet inspects only 1% of food coming from outside our borders.
- The Act does nothing to address many significant food safety problems in this country, such as those resulting from CAFOs, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and various contaminants (e.g., BPA, pesticides, herbicides, etc.)
- FDA has used its existing power to benefit the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries at the expense of public health (e.g., allowing the overuse of antibiotics in confined animal feeding operations and refusing to require labeling for genetically modified foods). This Act does not address the fundamental problems at this agency in order to truly protect public health.
- The Act will expand FDA’s involvement in regulating food in 45862-78283 commerce, further interfering with local communities. State and local governments are more than capable of handling any problems related to food in intrastate commerce. All the major outbreaks of foodborne illness involve either imported food or food in inter-state commerce.
- The Act will hurt the nation’s ability to be self-sufficient in food production because it has more lenient inspection requirements for foreign than domestic producers creating an unfair advantage for food imports. Giving an advantage to foreign producers will only increase the amount of imported food that does not meet domestic standards. The Act does not address food security – the ability of a country to produce enough food to meet its own needs.
The WAPF folk pointed out in their latest journal (Wise Traditions, Fall 2010) that S.510 does not address the causes of the food safety problems.
“The bill calls for increased inspections and extensive paperwork, but it dodges the issue of the source of the bacterial contamination: manure, particularly manure from grain-fed cattle and intensive confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).”
THE FDA INSPECTION of the chicken facilities that caused the salmonella outbreak (belatedly conducted after the recall) revealed a sickening image of hundreds of thousands of chickens kept under the most unsanitary conditions imaginable. Among other things, the [FDA] report noted that ‘Uncaged birds (chickens having escaped) were using the manure, which was approximately eight feet high, to access the egg laying area. In other words, hens were climbing on top of the piles of manure in order to reach the feed within the cages.
“Chicken manure located in the manure pits below the egg laying operations was observed to be approximately 4 feet high to 8 feet high’ in multiple locations, built up to the extent that the manure forced doors outward and allowed rodents access to the indoors. Yet neither S.510 nor any other proposal in front of Congress or FDA even tries to reduce the growth of intensive confined feeding operations, which create the perfect conditions for bacterial contamination.”
So who does S.510 really serve? Large agri-businesses with the intent of monopolizing food production in the hands of those least motivated to produce healthy food. The Tester-Hagan Amendment is a truly important victory for small farms/producers and their local consumers! On the other hand, the bulk of S.510 is a loss for the majority. This is why it is becoming increasingly important to search out and buy from your local farmers and producers. Many believe that the solution to this growing ‘pathocracy’ and fascism lies at the local community level, and the Tester-Hagan Amendment keeps that window for food choice open—at least for now. The silver lining here may be that S.510 will encourage the formation of many more small farms as more people realize that they need a choice.
I’ll close here with a farmer’s comments with respect to S.510:
“As a life-time farmer, I want you to know, when a decision about what to do with the crops and animals we are stewards of is to be made, I ask myself how will this affect the young mom with small kids who will feed my product to her family. This involves first wholesomeness, safety and, yes, cost. I believe my mission is to play a part in a safe, wholesome and affordable food supply while preserving the productivity of the natural resources we use and care for.
Let’s not forget meeting the financial needs of those who help me and depend on that production system of which the farmer is only the first step in bringing good things to the lives of our ultimate boss: that family which uses my products to improve their lives.”—Roger Black, farmer