|Regulated out of existence under S. 510|
Being honest, I must confess some slight personal agitation at the thought of writing another article on yet another “food safety” bill making its way through congress with the words “tyranny” and “Codex” written all over it. It seems that every legislative session, we are faced with the prospect of the same food bill cloaked in a different name. Invariably, this bill seeks to corral all food production into the hands of a few major corporations and essentially destroy the ability of the population to feed themselves. Here in late 2010, we have the new version of food imperialism known as S.510, the Food Safety Modernization Act.
While it is true that S.510 contains new and improved tyrannical sections that are unique specifically to it, the truth is that it is merely a repackaging of past bills (See here and here ) and attempts to control people through food. It is also yet another attempt to implement Codex Alimentarius guidelines under the guise of domestic legislation.
One example of hidden Codex guidelines in the Food Safety Modernization Act are the overly broad provisions regarding “traceability.” The desire for enhanced traceability of food products is sold to the public as a desire to better respond to food-borne illnesses and follow them back to their source. However, as with almost anything that comes out of the mouth of government, there is a more sinister role that traceability programs have to play.
Essentially, traceability has little to do with food safety in this context. While no one could argue being able to trace food contamination back to the source is a bad thing, the fact is that these mechanisms already exist. Unfortunately, they are generally ignored and unused when it comes to adverse health effects related to food produced by multinational food corporations. While there is always an exception to the rule, it is a fact that international corporations are by far the source of food adulteration more often than small independent farms.
The real reason behind traceability programs lies in the desire to monitor where food is coming from to ensure that, in the future, it only comes from large agribusiness. Hence, the new traceability procedures involve massive financial, management, and bureaucratic burdens placed on the shoulders of mainly small “food producers.”
It should be pointed out that, while it is true that major corporations will also be burdened with these regulations (unless the Secretary exempts them), it is also true that a company that makes billions in profits can afford to deal with them. Your neighborhood farm down the road simply can’t.
For all the claims that small independent producers will be exempted, the fact is that the “exemption” is merely semantics. Small independent producers will be held to essentially the same guidelines as Big Agro. This is because, in order to be exempted from the regulations as S.510, they have to submit to similar regulations as the S.510 regulations themselves dictate. As Eric Blair points out in his article Why the Tester Amendment Does NOT Help Small Food Producers Under S.510:
Those [S.510 Tester Amendment Exemption Requirements] bear a striking resemblance to the ‘expensive’ food safety plans outlined in subsection (h) of S.510 that small producers are supposedly exempt from. In other words, they must submit similarly comprehensive plans just to qualify to be exempt from creating them. But it gets worse. If Grandma wants to sell her famous raspberry jam at the county fair (within 275 miles of her canning kitchen) she will indeed be a small producer exemptions, but not before she forks over 3 years of financials, documentation of hazard control plans, and local licenses, permits, and inspection reports. She must submit this documentation to the satisfactory approval of the Secretary; and if she fails to do so, the entirety of S.510 can be enforced on her. That’s hardly what I call an exemption.
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He goes on to point out that the bill does not explicitly make it illegal to sell food independently produced, but it does make it so cumbersome that small producers will be unable to maintain compliance with the law.
While one could successfully argue that by forcing independent producers to file information and obtain permits and licenses is in fact making the production of food illegal, there is no doubt that small producers will be forced out of business by the overbearing regulation.
Nevertheless, cumbersome traceability provisions have surfaced before in other areas. In reading the traceability-related sections of S.510, there is a striking similarity between the language of the bill and that of Codex Alimentarius in its own proposed guidelines.
The HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point), a “food safety” methodology used by Codex Alimentarius (and addressed in S.510), plays an important role in the tracking, tracing, and monitoring of food production. Under this system, food business operators (defined so broadly so as to include both big agribusiness and recreational gardeners) are required to “identify any steps in their operations which are critical to the safety of the food; implement effective control procedures at those steps; monitor control procedures to ensure their continuing effectiveness; review control procedures periodically and whenever the operations change.”
Likewise, in the document entitled, “Recommended International Code of Practice General Principles of Food Hygeine,” Codex states that “Where necessary, appropriate records of processing, production and distribution should be kept and retained for a period that exceeds the shelf-life of the product. Documentation can enhance the credibility and effectiveness of the food safety control mechanism.” Although the language of the bill and the Codex document are not identical in every section, they are similar. Unfortunately, this is all that is needed to initiate the implementation of Codex Alimentarius guidelines in the United States.
However, there is yet another danger posed by S.510 in regards to Codex Alimentarius. The fact that this bill provides the FDA, HHS, and even DHS with even more authority over food production, transportation, and consumption should be alarming enough. But because these agencies often respond to policy as much as they do law, the chances of Codex Alimentarius guidelines being implemented domestically rises sharply. This is due to the fact that no congressional approval would be needed to implement them. Simply an executive order or change in policy from the executive branch or even the FDA, HHS, or DHS acting independently would be enough to enact Codex guidelines in the United States.
Because Codex Alimentarius guidelines are enforced by the WTO, any dispute brought before the WTO and its dispute settlement board could essentially force the United States to buckle under and implement Codex guidelines. With the passage of S.510, the need to gain congressional approval for such a change would be effectively erased.
Yet while Codex guidelines can be enforced through the WTO in one fell swoop, it is much more likely that they will be implemented by stealth. Introduced gradually and under the cover of domestic legislation, the chance of organized public resistance is greatly reduced. Without a doubt, the majority of Americans have no idea what Codex Alimentarius actually is. In fact, it is an unfortunate reality that the majority of the American public have no idea what S.510 is. Even to the relatively informed individual, the legislation is merely just another government power grab. Little do they know that is a major step forward on the path to a global dictatorship which uses food as a weapon and a means of control. Those who ridicule activists and opponents of S.510 as paranoid conspiracy theorists march unwittingly down a road which leads directly to just such a global tyranny where food will be most definitely taken – but not for granted.
Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Mullins, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University where he earned the Pee Dee Electric Scholar’s Award as an undergraduate. He has had numerous articles published dealing with a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, and civil liberties. He also the author of Codex Alimentarius – The End of Health Freedom
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