USDA Cuts Foreign Meat Plant Inspections

While the USDA works to destroy US cattle growers ability to profit from their labor, they make it easier for the general public to buy meat with NO inspection process at all- from foreign countries.

For those who don’t have a solid handle on this issue, I’ll give you a really brief run down. Since the 1950’s the USDA has been operating under the OECD plan of “get big or get out”. The percentage  of US farms relative to the population has dramatically dwindled, and the  complete failure of the USDA and the DOJ to enforce the competition and monopoly laws on the books allows for strong corporate control of the market. And because of reciprocal agreements between the States and the USDA, a person can’t raise their stock and sell directly to the public without USDA interference or oversight.

There are a million more issues related to this lack of access to market (not market access, defined as access to foreign markets), and I’ve covered a lot of them in the past, but for this morning, I would like you to see how concerned with REAL food safety the USDA is. It’s simple. They are not concerned.

While the USDA and the FDA ramp up their State sponsored terrorism on domestic farmers wishing to provide their communities with honest food, they allow fewer inspections of foreign plants and effectively let them “self inspect”.

Nice, isn’t it? You can’t buy a half a steer processed by your neighbor whom you can speak with, but you can buy hamburger with who knows what in it, and the USDA approves.

USDA cuts safety audits on imported meat

Dow Jones Newswires 01/25/2013 @ 2:08pm

 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has cut the number of food safety audits it conducts on foreign countries that ship meat to the U.S. as part of an overhaul that the agency says will allow it to focus on the riskiest imports.

USDA officials are now only conducting audits of safety laws in meat-exporting countries at least once every three years instead of on a mandatory annual basis, the agency said Friday, a move that critics say could reduce the safety of imported meat.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D., Conn.), one of those critics, expressed alarm that USDA had already changed its audit system without informing Congress or the public.

The previous system that relied on annual audits was “imperative to ensuring that foreign regulatory systems provide the same level of protection of the public health as our domestic system,” Ms. DeLauro said, but now it seems that USDA “has been implementing and refining these changes for several years.”

The USDA said Friday in a submission to the U.S. Federal Register that it began making the transition “from an annual on-site audit to less frequent on-site audits” in 2009 and “now that the transition is fully in place, [USDA] is announcing it to the public.”

Countries with a history of food safety violations will get closer scrutiny under the new system, the USDA said.

“This performance-based approach allows [USDA] to direct its resources to foreign food regulatory systems that pose a greater risk to public health compared to others,” the USDA said. (read full story here)

 

Easter Bunny Reports "NAIS is Dead!!!!"

©Doreen Hannes

February 8, 2010

As I reported after returning from the NIAA (National Institute for Animal Agriculture) meeting last August, rumors of the death of NAIS have been greatly exaggerated. (Read http://nonais.org/2009/09/05/ding-dong-nais-is-not-dead/) The USDA has finally admitted that they have too much negative publicity surrounding the name NAIS, and that they actually have to do what they tried to do in the first place: get the states to do their bidding on ‘animal identification’ and ‘traceability’ according to World Trade Organization standards. So yippee. They are only going to exercise their rule-making authority to control interstate commerce. Well, that’s all they had the authority to do at the outset. So we should be giddy with excitement that they are openly proclaiming they will do just that now.

Should we be happier than a pig in a puddle because they openly stated that they will leave animals which never exit the state out of the new plan? They never had the authority to deal with those animals anyway…unless, of course, you take money from the USDA. Otherwise, that authority rests with your state. The USDA will continue to fund the states and work in a ‘collaborative’ way with states and industry (continuing the Public Private Partnership otherwise known as fascism) to develop the “minimum standards” that must be followed in order to participate in interstate commerce.

So, as many conversations with my compatriots in the fight against NAIS have alluded to, at last the USDA is pulling the commerce clause out and holding it up as their hammer for “minimum standards” that will be required by forthcoming regulations for ‘disease traceability’. And why has the USDA taken to calling it ‘disease traceability’ instead of ‘animal identification’? Because they only HAVE authority over the diseases! The FDA has authority over live animals on the farm (http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Testimony/ucm114752.htm), even though the majority of people don’t know this, and it is a very useful poker chip in the globalization game. It is called misdirection, and those of us who have been deeply involved in the fight against the NAIS are very aware of this agency’s use of misinformation, disinformation, subterfuge and general sneakiness in foisting upon us their WTO driven desire that will create captive supply for export of the entire domestic livestock population.

The only official document available on the “NAIS not NAIS” program is a seven page Q and A available at the new page for “NAIS not NAIS” called Animal Disease Traceability. (http://www.aphis. usda.gov/ publications/ animal_health/ content/printabl e_version/ faq_traceability .pdf). It’s only 7 pages, so if you have read the previous 1200 pages of USDA documents on this program, it’s a walk in the park.

One of the first questions that one asks when told “NAIS is Dead!”, (aside from “what’s it’s new name?”) is “What about all the people who are in the Premises Database with PIN’s already?” According to the 7-page document, they stay in that database.

How about animals that are already identified with the “840” tags for NAIS? They also stay in the database. What about the “840” tags themselves? Well, the USDA and States will keep using them.

Are they going to halt further registrations into the NAIS database? Heck no! They’ll keep registering properties and will also be using a ‘unique location identifier’ for this kinder, gentler NAIS that the States will run for us.

Why are they re-using the first two prongs of NAIS? Aside from the unstated fact that they are using them because they have to use them to be compliant with OIE (World Animal Health Organization) guidelines, they say it’s because of the tremendous amount of money spent developing NAIS already even though it is un-Constitutional.

How much money? It’s government math, so it’s likely done by consensus as opposed to literal whole numbers that add up- you know, like 2+2=4. Consensus would make it possible for 2+2 to equal 5. Anyway, figures cited by various officials are anywhere from $120 million to $180 million. Less than 60¢ per person, so almost nothing when compared to the monstrous 107 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities we are currently carrying. Believe me, when I say I am not for government waste at all, but when an agency has spent this much time and money on an unfruitful program, isn’t it better to simply fully knock it in the head instead of changing the name and playing “Hide and Go Seek” with the people who have adamantly opposed this program? Why couldn’t the USDA do the only truly Constitutional thing with this international-trade driven program and let those who want to deal in international markets do this to themselves through the Export Verification Services department of the USDA? Well, if they did that, not only would they have to actually be fully open and transparent, they would need to let the public in on the big secret that the United States is no longer in charge of its own policies, rather they are obligated to follow the Sanitary PhytoSanitary (SPS) directives of the World Trade Organization agencies, namely Codex Alimentarius, the OIE and the IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention).

And we still have the very real issue of the massive database for premises registration (or the unique location allocator) having no public or verifiable oversight to check whether or not people who have been told they were removed were in fact removed from that database. So if NAIS is dead, why not allow the database to be annihilated? Obviously, they are still following the plan.

What about the states that have passed legislation designed to constrain NAIS from becoming mandatory within their boundaries? How will this new disease traceability program affect them? Well, since this is NOT NAIS and the regulations aren’t yet written, the states will have to wait to find out what requirements they MUST MEET in order to participate in interstate commerce. There’s your hammer.

So how powerful is the interstate commerce clause? Pretty dang powerful. And if people who dealt in the local food movement fully understood Wickard vs. Filburn, (http://conservapedia.com/Wickard_v._Filburn) they would feel no consolation whatsoever from the USDA’s statement that they are not interested in regulating livestock that stay within the state.

In a nutshell, this 1942 Supreme Court case found that since Filburn had accepted money as part of the Agricultural Adjustments Act and then grew wheat to feed his own livestock, that he was not only subject to the regulation of the USDA by accepting that money, but also, since he grew wheat, he hadn’t purchased it, and had he not grown it, he would have had to purchase wheat which would have likely come through interstate commerce. Therefore, his planting of wheat affected interstate commerce and solidified the USDA’s jurisdiction over his actions.

If you transplant “tomato” for wheat you can see how sinister this ruling truly is. If you grow tomatoes, you won’t be buying them, so if you don’t buy them, and since the store bought tomatoes likely cross state lines in their movement, you are affecting interstate commerce by growing tomatoes….This is precedent, and it is a very, very dangerous precedent. So taking money or help from the USDA to establish your local farmer’s market is going to put you into a relationship that is highly precarious for freedom.

The interstate commerce clause was not designed to hammer states into submission to federal or international agency trade objectives, it was to stop states from unfairly discriminating against each other and to enable us to be a strong union of sovereign states that could actually feed itself and prosper. The only thing to do is to keep fighting with full knowledge and to get the States to exercise their duty to protect the Citizens from an overarching Federal government. We need states to completely free up direct trade between farmers and consumers and we need states to work together to create their own criteria for exchange of goods across state lines.

Do we have to ‘stay engaged’ in conversations with the USDA on this “New Not NAIS”? Yes, to keep telling them to go sell crazy somewhere else, we’re all stocked up here, thank you. They should tend the borders, control and actually inspect the imports, run the disease programs that worked and were not massive consolidations of power in federal hands, and for cryin’ out loud INSPECT the packing plants and stop trying to make consumers believe that farmers and ranchers are responsible for sloppy slaughtering!

Also, go ahead and leave a bunch of the milk chocolate rabbits for us. Chocolate is one thing we probably should import, but certainly not at the cost of our freedom and sovereignty.

2009: A Near Catastrophic Year For Dairy Farmers

People, we have GOT to realize that our ability to provide food for ourselves is actually a national security issue. Please read this article below which only touches on the issue of the WTO in destroying our ability feed our own population….Let me know what you think. Sometimes it feels like I am speaking into a black hole and things are not resonating with my fellow countrymen.

River Reporter

Farms are closing at an alarming rate

By TOM KANE

REGION & NATION — Things couldn’t be much worse than the way the dairy farmers are rewarded or, more accurately, not rewarded, for the quality and quantity of the milk that America ’s dairy farms produce.

And it’s not because they haven’t been articulate about what is needed: a real connection between the dairy farmers’ cost of production and the price they get for their milk.

The federal government and the dairy cooperatives, called coops, have failed dairy farmers who have been falling by the wayside this year and for the last 10 years. Dairy farms have been disappearing at an alarming rate and nothing is being done to staunch the extinction.

Two senators from Pennsylvania , Arlen Specter and Bob Casey, are working hard to solve this. They have created legislation, called the Federal Milk Marketing Improvement Act of 2009 – S-1645, and farm organizations across the Northeast and farmers in other milk-producing states are getting local, state and federal elected officials to urge its passage.

“Support for these resolutions by local government officials highlights their understanding of the severe damage being inflicted on their communities by the on-going dairy farm economic crisis,” said Arden Tewksbury of the Progressive Agriculture Organization (Pro Ag).

Pro Ag, the National Family Farm Coalition, the National Farmers Union, National Farmers Organization, the American Raw Milk Producers Pricing Association, Family Farm Defenders and many other farming organizations are supporting what is being called the Specter-Casey Bill.

One of the problems that passing such a bill will face is what is called the “global trade mentality” that is prevalent among legislators and business people. Under global trade agreements, it is easier to bring in products that can hurt American industries, in this instance, milk producers and distributors. “Without fair raw milk prices that can’t be undercut by the global trade movement, local dairy farmers will not survive,” Tewksbury said. “The once vibrant rural communities will continue to collapse and consumers will not have access to fresh, local milk and dairy products.”

Recently, New York State Senator John Bonacic urged dairy farmers to storm Albany in order to resolve the plight of New York dairy farmers. “Governor Patterson ignored my plea to use the Obama stimulus money to help solve the inequities that exist in New York State ,” he said. “If the legislators won’t come to you, then bring the message to them. Go to Albany in numbers and make them listen.”

Subsequent to Bonacic’s suggestion, dairy farmers traveled to Albany but had little effect on any action by the state.

Recently, the Congress passed a stop-gap measure with legislation that will pump $300 million into the dairy industry to relieve farmers. This one-time payment, as welcome as it is, will not change the convoluted process used by the feds and the dairy coops to set the price of milk, some of which date back to the Great Depression and even further.

Dairy farmers generally are disappointed with the coops that are not helping farmers get the best milk price. Many say that the coops, even though dairy farmers are on their boards, are in the business to maximize their profits, largely ignoring the plight of the dairy producers.

Local dairy farmer Brian Smith, who is also the chairman of the Wayne County Commissioners, won a seat on the board of the local Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) board—the regional coop—when he campaigned on the poor job the coops are doing for the dairy farmers.

One of Smith’s main concerns is that dairy farmers cannot compete on the world market because of the cheap milk products that are available in foreign markets. He says the coops promote the importing of milk products, despite what it is doing to the poor price dairy farmers are getting today.

“I dispute the word promote,” said Monica Massey, DFA vice president of corporate communications. “We have to operate in a global dairy environment. That’s the reality. There are no fences around our country. If we want to export milk products, and we do, then we need to be prepared to accept imports. It is our aim to minimize imports. We export 10 to one. We exported 1.2 million pounds of milk last year and imported one million pounds. We can not limit imports unreasonably. The World Trade Organization (WTO) says we have to do this.”

Dairy farmers say that the coops are not the only organizations that are dragging their feet on the issue of a fair price to farmers for their milk. Other companies in the dairy business as well are not doing all they can and are only interested in maximizing their profits, dairymen say. They mention companies like Dean Foods, the largest distributor of milk and other foods in the nation, and Land O’Lakes, another large distributor of milk products.

According to figures released by the Federal Election Commission, these companies were among the top contributors to federal candidates’ election campaigns in both parties. Dean Foods donated $378,000 to both party candidates, DFA donated $164,900 and Land O’Lakes donated $113,050. The contributions did not come directly from the companies but from their political action committees. Dairy farmers are claiming that these companies have the ear of Congress members who are loath to pass legislation that will hurt the companies’ bottom lines.

Welcome to the Global Plantation

Welcome to the Global Plantation
HR 2749 Authorizes International Take-Over of Domestic Food Production

© Doreen Hannes 2009

HR 2749 AUTHORIZES NAIS and OTHER INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS
Congressional staffers have been telling people that HR 2749, the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, does not authorize the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). Many organic groups have agreed with them. However, this is misleading. Though HR 2749 does not name “the” National Animal Identification System, it still authorizes the program. It also does not state that it legally authorizes Good Agricultural Practices, or GAP, partially comprising Codex guidelines on traceability and food safety, and the OIE’s Guide to Good Farming Practices including auditing, certification and inspections, disincentives for not participating in the form of fines, penalties, and loss of access to market, but it does. Is it possible that Congress was not aware of what it voted on? The bill was changed three times in a 24-hour period before passing the House 283-142 on July 30, 2009.

Are these assertions about HR 2749 wild and unsubstantiated? Proving them is fairly easy—just understand “Good Agricultural Practices” (GAP), how the agencies of the World Trade Organization operate within member countries to achieve them and what comprises the actual jurisdiction of the FDA and USDA. A brief explanation follows, along with substantiating quotes from HR 2749.

First we look to jurisdiction in HR2749….

“Nothing in this Act or any amendment made by this Act shall be construed to alter the jurisdiction between the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Health and Human Services, under applicable statutes and regulations…” (p.3&4)

Then, tossing our preconceived notions to the wind and looking to law instead, we find that congressional testimony of the FDA on establishing a single food safety agency and a myriad of other sources including the FAO (Food and Ag Organization of the UN), the FDA statements on the Bioterrorism Act of 2002, and many books on food law affirm that FDA has jurisdiction over live food animals:

“FDA is the Federal agency that regulates 80 percent of the nation’s food supply-everything we eat except for meat, poultry, and certain egg products, which are regulated by our partners at USDA. FDA’s responsibility extends to live food animals…”

So then what is the authority of the USDA? It is over agricultural disease, animals in the slaughter channel or transport, marketing (like grading of eggs and certification of processes) and the end product of many (but not all) food animals; meat. This is why NAIS always had to be “about disease” because the USDA couldn’t run it otherwise! The exemption section on USDA regulated products is a dust up. Most people think the USDA has authority over live food animals, but it is the FDA after all. They surrender “cow, sheep or goat for milk production”, but the FDA retains authority of the fluid milk and when the animal is no longer productive for milking, it’s into the slaughter channel (under USDA) or out to pasture (back to FDA) anyway!

“Livestock and poultry that are intended to be presented for slaughter pursuant to the regulations by the Secretary of Agriculture under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act are exempt from the requirements of this Act. A cow, sheep, or goat that is used for the production of milk is exempt from the requirements of this Act.” (p.5 of HR2749)

HR 2749 is 160 pages (July 29 version) and contains the following references to international standards and guidelines (emphasis added for clarity) (all page numbers refer to the PDF file):

“(B) INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS.—In issuing guidance or regulations… the Secretary shall review international hazard analysis and preventive control standards that are in existence on the date of the enactment of this Act and relevant to such guidelines or regulations to ensure that the programs…..are consistent……with such standards.” (p. 35)

“CONSISTENCY WITH INTERNATIONAL OBLIGATIONS.—The Secretary shall apply this paragraph consistently with United States obligations under international agreements.” (p. 81)

“The Secretary shall issue regulations to ensure that any qualified certifying entity and its auditors are free from conflicts of interest. In issuing these regulations, the Secretary may rely on or incorporate international certification standards.” (p. 82)

This means that there will be a layer of auditors, certifiers and inspectors over every aspect of food production in this country and that these inspectors and certifiers will be trained in ISO (International Standards Organization) management program certification. The ISO has been working with Codex Alimentarius on Food Safety Standards and, in particular, a technical standard for Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) which is a consortium of the seven largest food retailers in the world, and that is ISO22000:2005. All traceability (read NAIS) falls under the purview of Codex, the OIE (World Animal Health Organization) and the IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention) for global trade agreements.

The following excerpt from HR 2749 shows the fully interoperable global network already in existence regarding food and its production:

“Development of such guidelines shall take into account the utilization of existing unique identification schemes and compatibility with customs automated systems, such as integration with the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE) and the International Trade Data System (ITDS), and any successor systems.” (p. 142)

So it is clear that international standards and guidelines are implicit in this legislation. Note the usage of the command form SHALL. This isn’t a ‘might’, ‘may’ or in anyway a voluntary issue on the part of the Secretary. Then there is the section on Traceability. This is a code word in the National Animal Identification System and when one reads Sec.107 of this bill, it describes specific components of NAIS down to 48-hour trace-back, which cannot even be fantasized about with out individual animal identification.

“…..the Secretary shall issue regulations establishing a tracing system that enables the Secretary to identify each person who grows, produces, manufactures, processes, packs, transports, holds, or sells such food in as short a timeframe as practicable but no longer than 2 business days.” [note that it says “grows”] (p. 70)

and…

“……use a unique identifier for each facility owned or operated by such person for such purpose…” (p. 69)

So we have PIN (Premises Identification Number) and 48-hour traceback harmonizing with international standards and guidelines along with this:

“….‘‘(C) COORDINATION REGARDING FARM IMPACT.—In issuing regulations under this paragraph that will impact farms, the Secretary ‘‘(i) shall coordinate with the Secretary of Agriculture; and ‘‘(ii) take into account the nature of the impact of the regulations on farms.” (p. 71)

Now that I’ve killed you with legalese, it’s time to let you find out just what these international standards and guidelines mean to those engaged in agriculture in this country.

“GOOD AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES”
Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) are not a standard in and of themselves. They are a combination of standards and guidelines set forth by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. (FAO), through both the OIE (World Animal Health Organization) and Codex Alimentarius (Food Code) and IPPC to meet the certification and auditing side of the international trade aspects of the standards set forth. The OIE and Codex are charged with setting global standards and guidelines for the member countries of the WTO to meet and satisfy the SPS (Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary), TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade) and Equivalency agreements of the WTO for participation in international trade. Both the OIE and CODEX have guidelines for traceability that, with the passage of HR2749 into law, would be written into regulations governing all interstate commerce within the boundaries of the United States. The components of traceability are the pillars of NAIS that many of us have become so familiar with in the course of the battle over the past several years. Those being 1) Premises Identification 2) Animal Identification and 3) Animal Tracking. You can’t have traceability under international standards without having those three components.

One of the main issues in the implementation of these standards and guidelines within a member nation of the WTO is that they must have a legal framework through which to regulate and enforce these guidelines and standards. HR 2749 would meet the criteria for that legal framework by way of the excerpts from the bill above.

In the OIE’s “Guide to Good Farming Practices” the management of a livestock facility are clearly spelled out. Some of these recommendations that would become defacto law in the US under agency rule-making on passage of HR2749 (GGFP delineates international guidelines for food safety at the farm level) are:

– For each animal…Require and keep all commercial and health documents enabling their exact itinerary to be traced from their farm or establishment to their final destination…

-Keep a record of all persons entering the farm…..

-Keep medical certificates of persons working with the animals……

-Keep documents proving the water you give to the animals meets specific criteria

-Keep samples of all feed given to the animals

-Keep all documents from official inspections

-Keep records of treatment and procedures on all animals (castration, disbudding, calving, medications, etc.)

-Prevent domestic animals (cats and dogs) from roaming in and around livestock buildings

-Place all these documents at the disposal of the competent authority (Veterinary Services) when it conducts farm visits.

Some of the other guidelines and standards that would come into play after the implementation of traceability for all agricultural products would be : (from FAO COAG/17 “Development of a Framework for Good Agricultural Practices”) “the adoption and implementation of international standards and codes for which Codex food safety standards and guidelines have been designed, and the associated capacity building, training, development and field implementation in the context of the different production systems and agro-ecozones. These include: Enhancing Food Quality and Safety by Strengthening Handling, Processing and Marketing in the Food Chain (214A9); Capacity Building and Risk Analysis Methodologies for Compliance with Food Safety Standards and Pesticide Control (215P1); Food Quality Control and Consumer Protection (221P5); Food Safety Assessment and Rapid Alert System (221P6); and Food Quality and Safety Throughout the Food Chain (221P8).”*

To be certified as meeting the requirements of “GAP”, which is synonymous with being in compliance with international standards and guidelines, we can check out GlobalGAP.org. This is “the” certifying methodology for international trade in ag products. Here are a few excerpts from their 122-page general regulations booklet that has links to checklists for those who would be certifiers and auditors under the principles of GAP. This is an organization, not a governing body under WTO agreements, but working with nations and businesses to meet the criteria regarding these GAP practices for international trade. Here is a bare minimum of excerpts from their regulation document:

-(ii) Developing a Good Agricultural Practice (G.A.P.) framework for benchmarking existing assurance schemes and standards including traceability. (iii) Providing guidance for continuous improvement and the development and understanding of best practice. (iv) Establish a single, recognised framework for independent verification.

-Production Location: A production unit or group of production units, covered by the same ownership, operational procedures, farm management, and GLOBALGAP (EUREPGAP) decision-making activities.

-Within the context of GLOBALGAP (EUREPGAP) Integrated Farm Assurance this means tracing product from the producer’s immediate customer back to the producer and certified farm.

-Within the context of GLOBALGAP (EUREPGAP) Integrated Farm Assurance this means tracking product from the producer to his immediate customer.

In simple English, which appears to be highly lacking in all these guidelines, it means NAIS for everything, and for anyone who wishes to be engaged in agriculture….Remember the “grows” phrase from the earlier excerpt from HR2749. Now let’s look at some of the ‘exception’ clauses in HR2749. This bill is a terrifically crafty piece of legislation that is designed to cloud the reader’s understanding of the impact of the law being proposed in it. All of the exception clauses give the exception under this Act so long as you are ready to be regulated under a different Act. We’ll just look at a couple of these clauses to allow you to get the gist of the lack of exception available through the exceptions….

“EXCEPTIONS”
Farms- A farm is exempt from the requirements of this Act to the extent such farm raises animals from which food is derived that is regulated under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, or the Egg Products Inspection Act.

‘‘(I) such an operation that packs or holds food, provided that all food used in such activities is grown, raised, or consumed on such farm or another farm under the same ownership;

‘‘(II) such an operation that manufactures or processes food, provided that all food used in such activities is consumed on such farm or another farm under the same ownership; (pages9 and10)

Thus, if you grow everything you feed and consume everything you grow, and use no minerals or salts that you don’t mine yourself, you may be exempt. Or, in plain English, don’t even try to make a living in agriculture if you won’t comply with these rules.

One more exception to contend with here is:

‘(A) DIRECT SALES BY FARMS- Food is exempt from the requirements of this subsection if such food is–

‘(i) produced on a farm; and

‘(ii) sold by the owner, operator, or agent in charge of such farm directly to a consumer or to a restaurant or grocery store. (page 71)

This sounds good. However, there are several problems with this that are not evident without some knowledge of how things are done in the traditional avenues open for market to growers. First of all, cattle, whom you may recall as the primary target of the NAIS Business Plan, are often sold either at auction barns or via potload to feedlots. It is illegal to sell beef directly from the farm to consumers in every state that I know of. People often will sell a calf ready to butcher in halves or quarters to people and deliver the calf to the slaughter facility for the consumer, but this is far from the normal route of commerce in cattle or other species of meat animal. Even if you can securely wedge your operation into this particular exemption, they get you later via the record keeping section of this bill:

‘(E) RECORDKEEPING REGARDING PREVIOUS SOURCES AND SUBSEQUENT RECIPIENTS- For a food or person covered by a limitation or exemption under subparagraph (B), (C), or (D), the Secretary shall require each person who produces, receives, manufactures, processes, packs, transports, distributes, or holds such food to maintain records to identify the immediate previous sources of such food and its ingredients and the immediate subsequent recipients of such food.

‘(F) RECORDKEEPING BY RESTAURANTS AND GROCERY STORES- For a food covered by an exemption under subparagraph (A), restaurants and grocery stores shall keep records documenting the farm that was the source of the food.

‘(G) RECORDKEEPING BY FARMS- For a food covered by an exemption under subparagraph (A), farms shall keep records, in electronic or non-electronic format, for at least 6 months documenting the restaurant or grocery store to which the food was sold.’ (pp. 74-75)

So being exempt means you are required to keep records. Keeping required records means you could be required to release those records. So how exempt can a person get under this legislation? Especially when the slughter facilities will all be regulated unless the USDA already regulates them?

PENALTIES AND FINES
Then of course, as with any law, there are the fines and penalties. These are from $20,000 to $1,000,000 per violation. (p. 122)

NO JUDICIAL REVIEW
There is also the change under the seizure section that takes away judicial overview…(double quotations indicate amending language)

…….procedure in cases under this section shall conform, as nearly as may be, to the procedure in admiralty; except that on demand of either party any issue of fact joined in any such case shall be tried by jury, “”and except that, with respect to proceedings relating to food, Rule G of the Supplemental Rules of Admiralty or Maritime Claims and Asset Forfeiture Actions shall not apply in any such case, exigent circumstances shall be deemed to exist for all seizures brought under this section, and the summons and arrest warrant shall be issued by the clerk of the court without court review in any such case””…… (p. 116)

So we can just throw out that pesky Fourth Amendment to the Constitution and while we’re at it, let’s get rid of probable cause as well via this wording from page 117:

by striking ‘‘credible evidence or information indicating’’ and inserting ‘‘reason to believe’’;

There are many other dangerous aspects to HR 2749, like seizures, quarantines, and licensing and whistle blower provisions, but this should leave no doubt that this bill will indeed affect farms and has the potential to affect even home food production if an agency decides to apply the international risk analysis schemes to that venue. This bill opens a huge regulatory nightmare that is only evident when one knows what the international guidelines and standards consist of in regard to agriculture. Understanding those, it is highly unlikely that they will issue regulations that keep things as they are now.

Now, the questions that everyone involved in agriculture, meaning everyone who eats, must ask themselves are these:

Can regulating, fining and destroying the freedom of people to grow food create food safety?

Have the impacts of so-called “Free Trade” on this nation been beneficial for the citizens of this country?

Have food safety concerns increased or decreased since we have begun to import more food under these trade agreements?

And ultimately, does the US Constitution provide for the voidance of the Bill of Rights to participate in global trade?

My copy of the Constitution clearly does not allow for any law to void the Bill of Rights which is unalienable and Constitutionally guaranteed. It’s time to let our Federal representatives know in no uncertain terms, that everything to do with governance ultimately comes down to the consent of the governed, and we will not consent to being run by international agencies. ===end===

My deep thanks to Paul Griepentrog, who helped in going through the legislation and many of the ramifications and amendments to current law under this Act.

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