There has been some noise about S. 510 the Food Safety Modernization Act.
In the recent past there have been some issues with some of the food that many of take for granted in our local grocery stores. In March 2009 the FDA issued a recall of peanut butter because of a possible salmonella contamination. In Jun of 2010 bagged spinach was recalled because of possible E. Coli.
More recently in August 2010 our nation had its largest egg recall. There have also been recalls for ground beef, brats, among items.
The American people demanded our government do something to make sure our food supply is safe. Investigations were conducted. Congress held hearings. What was found out there is a patchwork about 15 or so agencies responsible for inspecting and grading our food. In 2003 alone the FDA and USDA duplicated over 1400 food safety inspections, according to the Government Account Office.
Out of all those investigations and hearing came the Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510). This bill would grant the FDA additional power and resources to monitor our food supply. In an E-mail response from Senator John Thune,
The Senate recently considered the Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510). If enacted, this legislation would create a number of new regulations and grant the FDA additional power and resources to monitor our nation’s food supply. Unfortunately, this bill would not address the problems associated with inefficiencies in the multi-agency oversight of food safety. Furthermore, by adding numerous new government jobs, this bill will continue to add to an increasingly unsustainable debt. At the cost of up to $1.4 billion, this bill could lead to an additional 17,800 government workers. As our country looks seriously at ways to tackle our looming debt and deficit problems, it is imperative that Congress resists increasing the size of the federal employee base. For these reasons, I could not support the cloture motion to end debate or the final passage of this bill when it was considered by the Senate on November 30, 2010. Regrettably, this bill passed the Senate by a margin of 73-25 and is currently awaiting consideration by the House of Representatives.
I believe that federal food safety laws should promote consumer choice and protect consumers from preventable outbreaks of disease and food-borne illness, while not placing undue burdens on agriculture producers in South Dakota, increasing the size of our government or adding to our national debt. As a member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, I will continue to work with my colleagues to advance common sense food safety legislation.
I did ask our congresswoman and congresswoman elect for there stance. Our current representative did not answer, and our new one is too busy setting up shop to take a stand on the issue.
There are many people who believe the bill if enacted would force smaller producers to close up shop, because they could not afford upgrades needed to meet the new requirements. Other believe it will end farmer?s markets, and prevent family farms from providing fresh produce to some of favorite super markets.
It wasn’t so long ago, that we were growing our own ‘rescission gardens’ I even heard of some people going out and getting miniature cattle and goats to trim the lawns and the milk and meat. I’m glad that never caught on. While at one time we did grow our food, I fear some of us have lost some of that know how, we have exchange it for knowledge of how to set up a wireless network and send IM around the world.
We are Americans. We can over come great obstacles. Just get out of the way. The free market does work. Put in some common sense rules and a streamlined inspection and recall process. If there is a bad egg in the bunch, they will be found out and driven out of business.