Plenty to Follow in Food Safety Regulations

I’m probably the only advocate of traditional food and farm freedom in this country that is following the overall destruction of our ability to access food of our choice  in connection with the implementation of the GFSI. At this point, I still haven’t made it through the FDA’s two recent rules for the Food Safety Modernization Act. I assure you, with the double attack of the non-governmental GFSI and the implementation of the FSMA, food freedom will be taking a hit like it has never seen before.

I just wanted to share this little snippet to illustrate how the only ones who will actually profit from these programs are the third party certifying and auditing agencies…..And armies of bureaucrats with plethoras of paperwork enhancing their own job security through these programs. Mind you, I am not smacking down the company offering their services here. I know nothing about them. I just thought followers of my blog would like to see the confession of complexity by one involved in the support of businesses trying to live in this Brave New World.

Here’s the excerpt:

Plenty To Follow In Food Safety Regulations – FSMA and GFSI

January 31 2013

Every day food plants across the United States process tons of food for hungry consumers. Everything from milk to ground beef to a cornucopia of fruits and vegetables, these plants are at the epicenter of food production.

A look inside the numbers of food processing is quite impressive: 20 billion gallons of milk are produced annually in the United States not only for drinking and dunking cookies, but for being poured over cereal or put in coffee, and in the production of cheese, ice cream and butter. According to the American Meat Institute, 10 billion pounds of ground beef is consumed in the U.S. annually – that’s a whole lot of burgers.

The Sprague Pest Experts get to see behind the curtain of food processing on a daily basis as our highly trained service staff works with clients to protect their facilities from unhealthy pests, as well as assist them in preparing and successfully passing food safety audits. Today, as we go about our duties, the landscape of food safety regulations is changing rapidly. Driven by new Global Food Safety Initiatives (GFSI) standards and the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), food industry professionals have a full plate in front of them. (full article here)

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)

 

Let Them Eat Grass…..

©Doreen Hannes

 

“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.”…….And they are doing it again.

Thomas Jefferson, The Declaration of Independence

Sheep...They're What's For Dinner

 

This week, the United States Senate is likely to pass Continuing Resolution HR 3082, to fund the US Government through September of 2011. It’s ballooned from 423 pages when it left the House with 238 of those pages being the “Food Safety Modernization Act”, to 1,924 pages.* It gives earmarks and special favors to particular areas with Senators who find themselves in the position of being able to buy future votes. It also still includes S.510, which expands the FDA’s authority to make mandatory recalls and require farms to implement HACCP plans (Hazard and Critical Control Point) and “good agricultural practices” on their farms. This will create somewhere in the realm of 4,000 additional federal employees and put independent farming to death. But hey, people ‘think’ their food will more safe, so it’s all worth it, right?

A nation that cannot feed itself cannot be free. This is not a difficult concept to wrap one’s brain around, but people have become so removed from food creation that, as a nation, we are apparently going to have to be hungry or worse before we understand that animals are made out of meat, manure is a fertilizer and life is dirty. If you’re going to live, something else has to die. Even if you’re a militant vegan, you still kill the carrot when you consume it. Life feeds on life, whether you like it or not. That’s just life. That is why we should be thankful for what sustains us and not delude ourselves about reality. If you can’t sustain yourself on everything you can grow on the balcony or the cracks in the sidewalk out front, you had better get yourself educated on the impacts of regulations and constraints on farms that will supposedly ‘make you safe’.

A little walk through history may be necessary to paint the picture…In the 30’s, we had some pretty serious economic issues as you’ll recall. That little thing called The Great Depression. Not too far off from what we currently have, but we didn’t have the credit card industry that gives the illusion of normalcy that we have now. Many families had to send their children to relatives who lived on farms to keep the children from dying of starvation or malnutrition. My mother was born in the midst of the Depression and her family had 16 children there at one time. My grandparents had six children. They farmed with horses, grew buckwheat, milked cows and sold the milk and cream, raised chickens and sold the eggs and ate the meat, gardened and had an orchard in which they raised their pigs, and they also raised sheep. They had no money, but they did have food. They were a huge operation, milking as many as twelve cows from time to time. With the expansion of regulatory authority and the unchecked consolidation of markets, farms like the one my mother grew up on are gone. None of those children went on to farm as adults.

The consolidation and concentration in agriculture has been ongoing since the founding of this country. To some degree it is natural, but in the last fifty years, it has been completely orchestrated. In 1790, 90% of the workforce farmed for a living. In 1930, when the media really began to make fun of farmers and infer that those who fed the nation were unintelligent hicks, there were still more than one-fifth (21%) of the nation’s workers engaged in full time agriculture. Contraction and consolidation began in earnest in the 1950’s after the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) came out with a report recommending US farmers “get big, or get out”.

This has happened in every segment of farming. “Get big, or get out” has been the mantra of agencies and corporations for half a century.  In 1980, there were over 117,000 dairy farms in the US. Today there are less than 65,000. In 1980, we had 666,000 hog farms. Today there are 71,000.  In 1980, there were 1.9 million cattle ranchers. Today there are 900,000. The same applies to the growing of produce and grains. There are no statistics specifically geared toward diversified agriculture, but the last ag census showed that farms with less than $10,000 per year income grew in number while the others all fell. According to USDA statistics, we now have a total of less than one percent of the entire population engaged in agriculture.

Instead, we have increased our imports in produce to a phenomenal 68% in fruits and vegetables. Less than 1% of these are inspected by the agencies charged with “keeping” our food safe. A few years ago, Florida tomato growers lost more than $1 billion dollars for causing salmonella in salsa. Further investigation revealed it was Mexican produced jalapenos that were the real culprit. So now, in our illustrious intelligence, we are expanding the authority of the agencies in charge of  “food safety” in this country, and enabling them to further annihilate our farms.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is an agency that is…encouraging state counterparts to raid food clubs, following farmers around trying to bust them for illegal food sales, destroying family businesses in both health supplements and raw dairy with no history or reports of illnesses associated with their products, allowing genetically modified organisms into your food without your knowledge or consent, allowing nano-particles in food without testing, fining companies for saying something is good for you, requiring that almonds be pasteurized and stating that raw milk should never be consumed by anyone for any reason under any circumstances. This same agency states you and your children have no right to any particular food, that you also have no right to bodily or physical health, and no right to contract. You do, however, have the right to serve as unwitting pharmaceutical and chemical test subjects. This is the agency you are allowing to control what your children will eat. This is the Food Destruction Agency.

When less than 1% of the population is engaged in feeding the entire population and those being fed don’t actively, and positively support the one percent, then the 99% should be happy when they are left to feed themselves….When Marie Antoinette was told that the peasants were threatening revolt because they had no bread, she said, “Let them eat cake.” When we are faced with rampant hunger because of the regulatory, financial, trade and foreign policies of the past 100 or so years, those of us who have been crying from the roof tops for people to take an interest in what really sustains them may be very well justified in saying, “Let them eat grass.”

Remember, No Farmers, No Food.

 

 

*As I was putting in the final links, I heard that the Senate has decided to pass a different temporary funding mechanism as they couldn’t get support for the behemoth they were trying to push. Until these Representatives adjourn and quit for the session we have to stay on the language from S 510 and keep pressuring them against making it law. Meanwhile, support your farmers!