Change We Can Believe In: How About the End of Farmers Markets? Say Hello to H.R. 875: Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009March 9th, 2009
Update: The Husband of the Bill’s Sponsor Does Work for Monsanto
Reader CW tipped me off to this. It checks out.
Rosa DeLauro is married to Stanley B. Greenberg.
Here’s a bio on Greenberg:
Stanley B. Greenberg is Chairman and CEO of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.
He has served as polling advisor to President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, Prime Minister Ehud Barak, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada of Bolivia and their national campaigns.
Greenberg provides strategic advice and research for companies, organizations and campaigns trying to advance their issues amid shifting social currents.
Greenberg is author of the new book, The Two Americas: Our Current Political Deadlock and How to Break it, published by St. Martin’s Press, described by James Carville as “the most important book on American politics in my memory … maybe since 1960, the Making of the President.” Greenberg is also the author of Middle Class Dreams.
Together with Bill McInturff, Greenberg conducts bi-partisan surveys for National Public Radio on the main issues of the day.
His private sector clients include BP, Boeing, Monsanto, Comverse, Sun Microsystems, United HealthCare, the Business Roundtable, and the organizing committee for the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
What this will do is force anyone who produces food of any kind, and then transports it to a different location for sale, to register with a new federal agency called the “Food Safety Administration.” Even growers who sell just fruit and/or vegetables at farmers markets would not only have to register, but they would be subject inspections by federal agents of their property and all records related to food production. The frequency of these inspections will be determined by the whim of the Food Safety Administration. Mandatory “safety” records would have to be kept. Anyone who fails to register and comply with all of this nonsense could be facing a fine of up to $1,000,000 per violation.
I’ve bought food at several farmers markets for years and I have yet to meet any vendors who are fond of the government. I think it’s pretty safe to say that most vendors at farmers markets won’t go along with this. The problem will be that the people who run the farmers markets will be forced to make sure that vendors are “registered” with the government.
Is this Change we can believe in? Maybe it is for Obama’s Secretary of Agriculture, Tom “I Fly with Monsanto” Vilsack.
For the rest of us, this is a nightmare.
Let’s take it piece by piece:
What is the legislation called? H.R. 875: Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009:
H. R. 875
To establish the Food Safety Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services to protect the public health by preventing food-borne illness, ensuring the safety of food, improving research on contaminants leading to food-borne illness, and improving security of food from intentional contamination, and for other purposes.
How does this affect farmers who just sell fruit and vegetables at farmers markets?
SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.
(9) CATEGORY 5 FOOD ESTABLISHMENT- The term ‘category 5 food establishment’ means a food establishment that stores, holds, or transports food products prior to delivery for retail sale.
13) FOOD ESTABLISHMENT-
(A) IN GENERAL- The term ‘food establishment’ means a slaughterhouse (except those regulated under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act), factory, warehouse, or facility owned or operated by a person located in any State that processes food or a facility that holds, stores, or transports food or food ingredients.
Does this really apply to fruit and vegetables? Yes.
SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.
(12) FOOD- The term ‘food’ means a product intended to be used for food or drink for a human or an animal and components thereof.
SEC. 202. REGISTRATION OF FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS AND FOREIGN FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS.
(a) In General- Any food establishment or foreign food establishment engaged in manufacturing, processing, packing, or holding food for consumption in the United States shall register annually with the Administrator.
(b) Registration Requirements-
(1) IN GENERAL- To be registered under subsection (a), a food establishment shall submit a registration or reregistration to the Administrator.
(2) REGISTRATION- Registration under this section shall begin within 90 days of the enactment of this Act. Each such registration shall be submitted to the Secretary through an electronic portal and shall contain such information as the Secretary, by guidance, determines to be appropriate. Such registration shall contain the following information:
(A) The name, address, and emergency contact information of each domestic food establishment or foreign food establishment that the registrant owns or operates under this Act and all trade names under which the registrant conducts business in the United States relating to food.
(B) The primary purpose and business activity of each domestic food establishment or foreign food establishment, including the dates of operation if the domestic food establishment or foreign food establishment is seasonal.
(C) The types of food processed or sold at each domestic food establishment or, for foreign food establishments selling food for consumption in the United States, the specific food categories of that food as listed under section 170.3(n) of title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, or such other categories as the Administrator may designate in guidance, action level, or regulations for evaluating potential threats to food protection.
(D) The name, address, and 24-hour emergency contact information of the United States distribution agent for each domestic food establishment or foreign food establishment, who shall maintain information on the distribution of food, including lot information, and wholesaler and retailer distribution.
(E) An assurance that the registrant will notify the Administrator of any change in the products, function, or legal status of the domestic food establishment or foreign food establishment (including cessation of business activities) not later than 30 days after such change.
(3) PROCEDURE- Upon receipt of a completed registration described in paragraph (1), the Administrator shall notify the registrant of the receipt of the registration, designate each establishment as a category 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 food establishment, and assign a registration number to each domestic food establishment and foreign food establishment.
Inspection, Category 5 Food Establishments
SEC. 205. INSPECTIONS OF FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS.
(a) In General- The Administrator shall establish an inspection program, which shall include statistically valid sampling of food and facilities to enforce performance standards. The inspection program shall be designed to determine if each food establishment–
(1) is operated in a sanitary manner;
(2) has continuous preventive control systems, interventions, and processes in place to minimize or eliminate contaminants in food;
(3) is in compliance with applicable performance standards established under section 204, and other regulatory requirements;
(4) is processing food that is not adulterated or misbranded;
(5) maintains records of process control plans under section 203, and other records related to the processing, sampling, and handling of food; and
(6) is otherwise in compliance with the requirements of the food safety law.
(5) CATEGORY 5 FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS- A category 5 food establishment shall–
(A) have ongoing verification that its processes are controlled; and
(B) be randomly inspected at least annually.
(c) Establishment of Inspection Procedures- The Administrator shall establish procedures under which inspectors shall take random samples, photographs, and copies of records in food establishments.
What happens if you own a farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal-feeding operation that does not prepare or serve food directly to the consumer?
I hope you like having Feds crawling all over your property and telling you what to do.
SEC. 206. FOOD PRODUCTION FACILITIES.
(a) Authorities- In carrying out the duties of the Administrator and the purposes of this Act, the Administrator shall have the authority, with respect to food production facilities, to–
(1) visit and inspect food production facilities in the United States and in foreign countries to determine if they are operating in compliance with the requirements of the food safety law;
(2) review food safety records as required to be kept by the Administrator under section 210 and for other food safety purposes;
(3) set good practice standards to protect the public and animal health and promote food safety;
(4) conduct monitoring and surveillance of animals, plants, products, or the environment, as appropriate; and
(5) collect and maintain information relevant to public health and farm practices.
(b) Inspection of Records- A food production facility shall permit the Administrator upon presentation of appropriate credentials and at reasonable times and in a reasonable manner, to have access to and ability to copy all records maintained by or on behalf of such food production establishment in any format (including paper or electronic) and at any location, that are necessary to assist the Administrator–
(1) to determine whether the food is contaminated, adulterated, or otherwise not in compliance with the food safety law; or
(2) to track the food in commerce.
(c) Regulations- Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture and representatives of State departments of agriculture, shall promulgate regulations to establish science-based minimum standards for the safe production of food by food production facilities. Such regulations shall–
(1) consider all relevant hazards, including those occurring naturally, and those that may be unintentionally or intentionally introduced;
(2) require each food production facility to have a written food safety plan that describes the likely hazards and preventive controls implemented to address those hazards;
(3) include, with respect to growing, harvesting, sorting, and storage operations, minimum standards related to fertilizer use, nutrients, hygiene, packaging, temperature controls, animal encroachment, and water;
(4) include, with respect to animals raised for food, minimum standards related to the animal’s health, feed, and environment which bear on the safety of food for human consumption;
(5) provide a reasonable period of time for compliance, taking into account the needs of small businesses for additional time to comply;
(6) provide for coordination of education and enforcement activities by State and local officials, as designated by the Governors of the respective States; and
(7) include a description of the variance process under subsection (d) and the types of permissible variances which the Administrator may grant under such process.
Is registration required? Yes. Is compliance with inspections required? Yes.
SEC. 401. PROHIBITED ACTS.
It is prohibited–
(3) for a food establishment or foreign food establishment to fail to register under section 202, or to operate without a valid registration;
(4) to refuse to permit access to a food establishment or food production facility for the inspection and copying of a record as required under sections 205(f) and 206(a);
(5) to fail to establish or maintain any record or to make any report as required under sections 205(f) and 206(b);
(6) to refuse to permit entry to or inspection of a food establishment as required under section 205;
So what might happen if I refuse?
SEC. 405. CIVIL AND CRIMINAL PENALTIES.
(a) Civil Sanctions-
(1) CIVIL PENALTY-
(A) IN GENERAL- Any person that commits an act that violates the food safety law (including a regulation promulgated or order issued under the food safety law) may be assessed a civil penalty by the Administrator of not more than $1,000,000 for each such act.
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