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by Mary Starrett
Constitution Party Communications Director
It comes as no surprise that efforts are underway by the federal government to curtail our access to food. It’s not the first time those in power have used regulatory powers to limit rights to this basic necessity. The devastating effects of government control over food can be seen in Zimbabwe and all over Africa, in Southeast Asia and in Russia. The Bible warns us in Revelation that a pale horse, straddled by a rider called Death will decimate one fourth of the Earth’s population through hunger. And so, HR 2749 comes riding a pale horse.
It should also come as no surprise that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would be the vehicle by which our food is limited.
If you’re impressed with the FDA’s track record on drug safety you’ll love how it all pans out when they’re in control of our food supply. Control is the operative word here because efforts underway in Washington will give the Food and Drug Administration unprecedented authority to determine what we eat, where we get our food and even whether we can access the bounty of our neighbors’ vegetable stand.
Even BusinessWeek addressed the increased powers proposed for the FDA noting: “the FDA will have authority under the legislation to inspect the business records of food producers at any time, free of the current limitation that requires a reasonable belief that adulterated food is being sold.” According to the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, “FDA would now be empowered to go on a ’fishing expedition’ and search records without any evidence whatsoever that there has been a violation.” For all those who believe government is always looking out for our best interests, remember that our Founders established the 4th Amendment for just such “fishing expeditions” by nosy government agents.
The Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 purports to “improve the safety of food in the global market, and for other purposes.” It’s the “other purposes” that are cause for concern. The bill which has passed the House and now awaits Senate approval is a frightening testament to what happens when people don’t pay attention to what’s happening in D.C… Using recent food recalls of peanuts, spinach and beef as evidence of the need for more stringent controls over the food supply, the legislation would require that food producers, including the local farmer who grows pumpkins once a year just for grins, would have to comply with a time consuming record keeping scheme, and adds a new tax to all “facilities” which produce food, (which could be anyplace where food is grown or prepared). In addition, food in “holding facilities” would be under the control of the FDA .
Such broad categorizations could mean anyplace, including a basement, storage shed or pantry. That could lay the groundwork for some chilling scenarios. Could we see in this country what happened when Stalin’s regime in the Ukraine starved between 7 and 11 million people? That little acknowledged atrocity was a deliberately engineered program of genocide against the country peasants. Stalin’s men stormed onto farms, rounded up the families, dug up basements and tore down barns looking for kernels of grain the starving peasants might have set aside for their families while being forced to turn over all their crops. The number of deaths from this 1933 famine was, by many accounts equal to or greater than the number killed in Hitler’s Holocaust, but was covered up even by Americans like New York Times reporter Walter Duranty who won a Pulitzer Prize for his writings denying Stalin’s deadly campaign.
Not unlike a tyrannical regime, Big Brother wants to keep tabs on all things edible. In this case, it’s being done under the guise of keeping our food supply safe. It’s always about our safety, after all. A provision in HR 2749 would “establish and maintain a system for tracing the food that is interoperable with the systems established and maintained by other such persons; and use a unique identifier for each facility owned or operated by such person for such purpose.” This dovetails nicely with the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) proposed several years ago which would require an expensive tagging of every pig, cow, horse or goat Americans owned.
HR 2749 would drive small, independent farmers out of business and hand Big Agribusiness Carte Blanche to push on us whatever Genetically Modified Frankenfoods they choose. HR 2749 would function as the backdoor assault on small, organic, family farming which will sound the death knell for our most basic freedom- the freedom to grow, sell and eat what we choose.
No wonder some American farmers and artisan food producers are seriously considering moving to other countries. Sadly, we’re all in this together as the global march toward “harmonization” erases borders and eclipses sovereign law.
Call your senators and tell them to get off their high, pale horses and vote “No” on HR 2749