Saturday, December 25, 2010

Vermont Says No to Food Bill

In case you haven't heard, the "food safety" bill we have been telling you about (S.510 that became H.R.2751 after the House stuck it into another bill) has sadly passed.

I found this article fitting since the passing of that bill. Maybe Ohio will follow suit. Maybe not though as the Rep. that sponsored this is from Ohio, Betty Sutton, and there was a good handful of Ohio Reps.
(ours included) co-sponsoring it too.

Before we continue to story, I'd like to thank all those that took the time to contact your congressperson(s) to tell them you believe you have the right to food freedom and want to keep supporting your local farmer and opposed this bill!


Vermont Drafts Food Sovereignty to Protect Health, Food Freedom

In response to the recent passage of "food safety" bills S. 510 and corresponding H.R. 2751, the Vermont Coalition for Food Sovereignty has drafted its own resolution called "The Vermont Resolution for Food Sovereignty." Crafted to declare and protect the food and health freedom rights of all Vermont citizens, the resolution is essentially a warning to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that it does not have jurisdiction over the food choices of the People of Vermont.

The resolution declares that food freedom is a "fundamental prerequisite to life," and that individuals have every right to save seeds, grow what they wish, and buy and sell the fruits of their labor without interference from an over-zealous, tyrannical government. And if any federal official tries to infringe on these rights, the People "shall resist any and all" of them.

Additionally, the resolution declares that, on the basis of the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the People of Vermont completely reject any and all "Federal decrees, statutes, regulations or corporate practices that threaten our basic human right to save seed, grow, process, consume and exchange food and farm products within the State of Vermont."

The recently-passed "Food Safety Modernization Act" essentially hands over control of the nation's food supply to the FDA. The legislation gives the agency free reign to mandate food recalls at will and require even small producers to jump through burdensome regulatory hoops in order to buy and sell their goods. The entire scheme has nothing to do with food safety and everything to do with giving the FDA more control over the food supply.

The Vermont Coalition for Food Sovereignty is encouraging concerned citizens to review the resolution and encourage their local and state politicians to co-sponsor it, both in Vermont and in other states.

Sources for this story include:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Visiting with Joel

I am a bit late posting this, I know, but I have a love-hate relationship with this computer. Sitting here very long does give my body issues....and I've had issues lately. As they say, better late than never.

On Nov 8, Malone University (a Christian college in Canton Ohio) held a Worldview Forum. The topic of this forum was "You Are What You Grow: Food Systems & the Human Soul. Guest speakers were Joel Salatin (for the food systems part of course) and Dr. Laura Yordy ( human soul part).

Since Joel was 'in town', we decided to go listen and do some catching up with him as it's been a couple of years since Nathan has been back down to visit Salatin's Polyface farm. Even though Nathan does keep in contact with both Joel and Daniel, it was good to do a face-to-face visit! I had not chatted with him since we picked Nathan up at the end of his year-long apprentice program at Polyface.

Most of what Joel said I had heard before but at the end of his allotted time, he did go through what the Biblical model of a farm should look like. Hadn't heard this one before from him so that was interesting to hear.

During the forum...Joel, Joel & Laura taking question from the crowd after their speeches.

Moderator for this forum was, ironically, Joel Soza, a professor at the college and a former pastor of the church both our parents go to here in town. We spent a little bit of time catching up with him and his wife while there too.

Of course you gotta get a picture! Nathan, Joel and Jessica(carrying baby Joppeck)

A chance to meet the speakers.... Joel is a popular guy.

We did get to visit with him before and after the forum. It was a nice visit.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Update on S.510.... now H.R. 3082

Here is an update on the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act that I have posted an Action Alert for these past 2 posts.

This is getting a bit confusing as S.510 did pass the Senate, then went to the House which seem to act like they were going to stall it, THEN today we find out they (House Democrats) put it into another bill altogether! This is NOT good...or honest!!! While it was somewhere (I think the Senate) there was an added amendment to it called the Tester-Hagan amendment which did help small farmers in some ways, but even with this, the bill has serious problems....and ramifications to us all.

I have put 2 different Alert emails that have come through about this bill below to help you wade through this if you have not kept up to date about this.

Your attention is needed on this issue- NOW- if you want to keep your food freedoms.


From..........Alliance for Natural Health USA

On December 8, the House of Representatives passed a Continuing Resolution (CR) H.R.3082. A CR is supposed to provide temporary, stopgap funding for the government while budget bills are worked out. But this CR included the language of the Senate food safety bill—language that will still affect small food producers (organic farms, small farms, mom-and-pop roadside stands, etc.) most of all. It will completely transform the food and farming industries—for the worse.

Putting the text of another bill into a CR is a prime example of the way Congress operates. It is ethically wrong; indeed it is an example of corruption. We saw this kind of slight of hand in the passage of the health reform legislation, and the American public should be fed up with it.

Now this House CR goes back to the Senate, which is expected to pick it up by the middle of next week. The rumor is that instead of dealing with the CR directly, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) will introduce the Senate’s own omnibus bill (even larger than the CR) that will also contain the food safety language along and who knows what else.

This is a bad bill, on its own or attached to another piece of legislation. We are grateful that the changes we lobbied for have stayed in the bill, including the exemption for supplements from Codex language and the Tester amendment that protects small farms from some of the bill’s provisions. But the bill still gives the FDA much too much control over farming in general and small producers in particular.

Three specific concerns remain, all major:

1. The bill mandates that every registered facility must be inspected by the FDA: high-risk facilities will be inspected initially within the first five years and then every three years thereafter; low-risk facilities, initially within seven years, and then every five. The FDA will need to hire an additional 5,000 employees to do all the inspections. Big companies love this, because the FDA will be so bogged down inspecting all the smaller operations that they won’t have time to focus on the big guys—where the actual food safety problems arise. Food safety legislation should be targeted at the large industrial farms, but, no surprise, this bill does just the opposite.

2. Language in the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act currently reads:

An officer or qualified employee of the Food and Drug Administration may order the detention, in accordance with this subsection, of any article of food that is found during an inspection, examination, or investigation under this chapter conducted by such officer or qualified employee, if the officer or qualified employee has credible evidence or information indicating that such article presents a threat of serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals.

Under this bill, the boldfaced text above would be changed to:

if the officer or qualified employee has reason to believe that such article is adulterated or misbranded.

And remember, as interpreted by the FDA, a food or supplement may be deemed “adulterated” if there have been any record-keeping violations. “Misbranded” can mean that the producer makes a completely true statement about the product but without FDA permission.

So when the FDA is inspecting a facility, if they merely believe an item is misbranded or adulterated—no concrete evidence is required—they can confiscate all of that product. If there is a suspected record-keeping error for a supplement, the entire stock can be taken by the FDA.

3. A company has to be registered to operate. Under this bill, if the FDA finds there to be a reasonable probability that a product may cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals, the FDA may suspend that facility’s registration, effectively shutting it down. This seems reasonable, but there is only one informal opportunity for companies to reinstate registration, with no opportunity whatsoever to appeal—they are at the mercy of an FDA inspector’s whim. This should not be allowed in America.

Why does all of this matter? Keep in mind the FDA has consistently done Big Pharma’s bidding and has attacked supplement companies and small food producers (such as the cherry and walnut growers). The bill gives the FDA unbridled authority to ratchet things up even further. The FDA needs to focus on large producers, not get its tentacles onto small producers.

Please contact your senators TODAY and ask them to oppose the food safety bill language that is currently in the CR (though it might be found in the omnibus bill next week). This may be our last chance to defeat this bill—please take action immediately!


Click THIS LINK to go to the Action Alert page. Once there, fill out the form with your name and address, etc., and customize your letter. We have a suggested message for you, but please feel free to add your own comments to the letter.


From....... Farm-to Consumer Legal Defense Fund

SENATORS, Vote "NO" on Cloture for H.R. 3082 & Oppose the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act

By a 212-206 vote on December 8, the House passed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (formerly S.510) as an amendment to H.R. 3082 (the "Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011" to fund the government through September 2011). A food safety act should not be part of a spending bill.

House Democrats attached what was S.510 (as passed by the Senate on November 30) to H.R. 3082 because they were worried about Republican opposition to it as a stand alone bill. The next step for H.R. 3082 is to go to the Senate for a vote.

As this is the Senate, the first vote on H.R. 3082 will be on a cloture motion to limit debate before there is a vote on the bill itself.


People need to contact their Senators now to tell them to Vote "NO" on Cloture for H.R. 3082 and Oppose the "FDA Food Safety Modernization Act" (Division D of H.R. 3082).

STEP 1 - Send a live fax message to your Senators through the online petition at

even if you've already used the petition this week.

STEP 2 - Call your Senators and be sure to give your zip code

Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121; ask to be connected to your Senator's office.


Go to; enter your zip code on the right side under "Get Involved" and click "Go". Click on your Senators' names then click the "Contact" tab to get office phone number(s).

If you get voicemail, leave a brief message with your zip code. If the line is busy, keep calling until you get through.


The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act is fundamentally flawed and is not in the best interest of small farmers, especially those who produce raw milk.

1. FDA does not respect individuals' rights to obtain healthy, quality foods of their choice. The agency has stated as a matter of public record, that:

"There is no absolute right to consume or feed children any particular food."

"Plaintiffs' assertion of a 'fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health, which includes what foods they do and do not choose to consume for themselves and their families' is similarly unavailing because plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish."

FDA has even participated in armed raids on small-scale co-ops and membership organizations. This agency should not be given any additional power.

2. FDA has adequate powers under existing law to ensure food safety and effectively deal with foodborne illness outbreaks. FDA has power to inspect, power to detain product and can readily obtain court orders to seize adulterated or misbranded food products or enjoin them from being sold. The problem isn't that FDA needs more power; it's that FDA does not effectively use the power it currently has. The agency has power to inspect imported food yet inspects only 1% of food coming into this country from outside our borders.

3. The Act does nothing to address many significant food safety problems in this country, such as those resulting from confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs), genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and various contaminants (e.g., BPA, pesticides, herbicides, etc.).

4. FDA has used its existing power to benefit the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries at the expense of public health (e.g., allowing the overuse of antibiotics in confined animal feeding operations and refusing to require labeling for genetically-modified foods). This Act does not address the fundamental problems at this agency in order to truly protect public health.

5. The Act will expand FDA's involvement in regulating food in intra-state commerce, further interfering with local communities. State and local governments are more than capable of handling any problems related to food in intrastate commerce. All the major outbreaks of foodborne illness involve either imported food or food in inter-state commerce.

6. The Act will hurt our ability as a nation to be self-sufficient in food production because it has more lenient inspection requirements for foreign than domestic producers creating an unfair advantage for food imports. Giving an advantage to foreign producers will only increase the amount of food imported into this country that does not meet our domestic standards. The Act does not address food security--the ability of a country to produce enough food to meet its own needs.