Author Topic: H.R. 875 Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009  (Read 5646 times)

Offline lonestar

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H.R. 875 Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009
« on: March 10, 2009, 05:38:52 PM »
Something everyone needs to look over:   >:( >:(

First link easier to read:    http://www.ftcldf.org/news/news-02mar2009.htm

Second link is to Actual bill on Thomas:   http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?c111:1:./temp/~c111pw9oMq:e1972


HR 875 - The Federal Take-Over of Food Regulation

On February 4, 2009 Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (HR 875), a bill that would establish the Food Safety Administration (FSA) within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).   HR 875 represents a tremendous expansion of federal power, particularly the power to regulate intrastate commerce.  While the proposed legislation tries to address the many problems of the industrial food system, the impact on small farms if the bill becomes law would be substantial and not for the better.  HR 875 is a major threat to sustainable farming and the local food movement.  [Click here for the text: PDF or MS Word or HTML]

The bill would transfer the functions and resources of several divisions within the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), such as the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) and the Center for Veterinary Medicine into FSA.  The National Marine Fisheries Service in the Department of Commerce would be transferred over to FSA as well.  [Section 102(b)]

Under HR 875 the FSA, among other responsibilities, is charged to regulate food safety and labeling [Section 2(1)(A)] and to “lead an integrated, system-wide approach to food safety and to make more effective and efficient use of resources to prevent foodborne illness” [Section 2(1)(C)].  Other purposes of the Act are to modernize and strengthen federal food safety law and “to establish that food establishments have responsibility to ensure that all stages of production, processing, and distribution of their products or products under their control satisfy the requirements” of federal food safety law[Section 2(3),(4)].  Under the bill, farms are designated as ‘food production facilities’ [Section 3(14)].  Farms are also subject to all laws in the Act applying to food establishments except that they do not have to register with the FSA as most other food establishments are required to do [Section 3(13)(b)].  A “food establishment”, according to the bill, means “a slaughterhouse (except those regulated under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act), factory, warehouse, or facility owned or operated by a person located in any State that processes food or a facility that holds, stores, or transports food or food ingredients” [Section 3(13)(A)].

HR 875 charges the administrator of FSA with developing a national food safety program to protect the public health [Section 201(a)(1)].  In carrying out the program, the administrator must “adopt and implement a national system for regular unannounced inspection of food establishments” [Section 201(c)(2)].  With respect to ‘food production facilities’ (farms), FSA is given the power by the bill to visit and inspect them to determine that they are operating in compliance with the food safety law [Section 206(a)(1)]–under HR 875 ‘food safety law’ refers to provisions of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act, provisions of the Public Health Services Act, and the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 itself [Section 3(15)].   In addition, the agency would have the power to have access to and copy all records maintained by farms in order to be able to (1) determine whether the food is contaminated, adulterated or otherwise not in compliance with the food safety law or (2) track the food in commerce [Sections 206(b)].   Under Section 210 of the bill which is entitled “Traceback Requirements”, FSA is charged with establishing a national traceability system that requires farmers to keep records that enable FSA to track “the history, use, and location of an item of food” [Section 210(c)].  Farmers selling direct to consumers would have to make their customer list available to federal inspectors.  The bill orders FSA to be consistent with existing statutes and regulations that “require recordkeeping or labeling for identifying the origin or history of food or food animals.”  Interestingly, the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is mentioned as some of the existing laws that the administrator should review even though there actually is no federal statute or regulation in place that mandates any part of NAIS [Section 210(d)(1)].  HR 875 cites NAIS as being authorized by the Animal Health Protection Act (AHPA) even though there is no mention of it anywhere in the AHPA [Section 210(d)(2)].

The food traceability records are not the only written documentation farmers are to supply FSA under the terms of the bill.  HR 875 mandates that FSA issue regulations that “require each food production facility to have a written food safety plan that describes the likely hazards and preventive controls implemented to address those hazards” [Section 206(c)(2)].  If such a regulation does in fact call for a HACCP plan (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, ’Hass-sepp’), farmers will be required to do the following in developing a plan for their farming operation:

   1. Conduct a hazard analysis (e.g., list the pathogens that could be present in the farming operation);
   2. Determine the critical control points (e.g., identify points in the operation where pathogens would most likely be present or could be introduced);
   3. Establish critical limits;
   4. Establish monitoring procedures;
   5. Establish corrective actions;
   6. Establish verification procedures; and
   7. Establish record-keeping and documentation procedures.

FSA’s rulemaking authority includes extensive power to regulate farming practices as well.  HR 875 requires the agency to issue regulations that establish ”minimum standards related to fertilizer use, nutrients, hygiene, packaging, temperature controls, animal encroachment, and water” with respect to “growing, harvesting, sorting, and storage operations” [Section 206(c)(3)]; and, “with respect to animals raised for food”, the regulations are to establish “minimum standards related to the animal’s health, feed, and environment which bear on the safety of food for human consumption” [Section 206(c)(4)].

All the requirements outlined above apply even if the farm is engaged in only intrastate commerce.   Under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act (FFDCA), FDA could only inspect farms that produce food for introduction into interstate commerce [21 USC 374].  Under HR 875, no nexus to interstate commerce is needed for a farm to be within FSA’s jurisdiction.  The increased federal inspection power will have an impact particularly on those facilities slaughtering meat and poultry that are currently subject to minimal or no regulation by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

HR 875 designates any facility slaughtering animals not subject to inspection under either the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act as a Category 1 food establishment [Section 3(5)–there are five categories of food establishments designated by the bill].  Such facilities are to be inspected on a daily basis and shall be subject to “antemortem, postmortem, and continuous inspection of each slaughter line during all operating hours” [Section 205(b)(1)].  Custom slaughterhouses and those farms processing poultry, officially and unofficially, under the federal exemption granted by Public Law 90-492 would now not be able to slaughter unless an FSA inspector is present.  A common complaint among those using USDA-certified slaughterhouses is that there are not enough inspectors available to be present to oversee slaughtering in facilities under federal jurisdiction.

The federal government’s expanded power to regulate commerce under the bill would place the legality of the sale or other distribution of raw milk in intrastate commerce in jeopardy.  FDA has long wanted a complete ban on the sale of raw milk.  The agency’s mantra is that raw milk should not be consumed by anyone at any time for any reason.  The agency does not consider this subject to be debatable and refuses to send representatives to any conference concerning the safety of raw milk when they know anyone with an opposing viewpoint will be present.  At the 2005 National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS), FDA supported a resolution calling for all States to prohibit the intrastate sale of raw milk.  Under HR 875, FSA is given the statutory authority to unilaterally impose a ban.

Under HR 875, FSA has the power to adopt “preventative process controls to reduce adulteration of food” [Section 203].  Under Section 203, FSA is to issue regulations that “limit the presence and growth of contaminants in food prepared in a food establishment using the best reasonably available techniques and technologies” [Section 203(b)(1)(D)].  FDA has long made it clear that in its opinion the best available technology to limit contamination in milk is pasteurization.

In the event FSA does not issue a regulation establishing a ban, raw milk producers can expect regular, unannounced visits from inspectors.  Under HR 875, farms processing raw milk are designated as Category 2 food establishments [Section 3(6)].   Category 2 food establishments are to be “randomly inspected at least weekly” [Section 205(b)(2)(B)]–those farms producing eggs not subject to the Federal Egg Products Inspection Act have also been designated Category 2 food establishments (at this time, many of these farms are subject to neither state nor federal regulation).  The inspector paying a visit to the raw milk producer will have had training based on a curriculum developed by the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) [Section 305(b)].  AFDO’s position on raw milk is that all milk should be pasteurized.

FSA’s power to enforce the food safety law is considerable.  The administrator can assess civil penalties of up to one million dollars for each violation [Section 405(a)(1)(A)].  Each day during which the violation continues is considered a separate offense [Section 405(a)(1)(B)].  The criminal sanctions are severe as well.   If a violation with respect to an adulterated or misbranded food results in serious illness, the perpetrator can be imprisoned for up to five years [Section 401(b)(1)]; if the same results in death, the penalty can be up to ten years [Section 401(b)(2)].  In addition, the FSA has expanded authority to seize, detain and condemn food [Section 402(A)(1) & (C)(1)] .   Under the FFDCA, FDA could only execute these powers pursuant to a court order [21 USC 334(a)].

There is every incentive for FSA to levy fines under the bill.  HR 875 provides that fines collected by the agency shall be deposited in an account in the treasury [Section 405(e)(1)].  FSA “may use the funds in the account without further appropriation or fiscal year limitation . . . to carry out enforcement activities under the food safety law” [Section 405(e)(2)(A)].  The agency may also use the funds in the account “to provide assistance to States to inspect retail commercial food establishments or other food or firms under the jurisdiction of State food safety programs” [Section 405(e)(2)(B)]; this would give the States reason to support the bill despite the fact that it dilutes much of what is left of the their Tenth Amendment police power to regulate food.

A violation that could prove to be a substantial source of fines collected by the agency would be the manufacture, introduction, delivery for introduction, or receipt in interstate commerce of any food that is adulterated [Section 401(1)].  HR 875 has expanded the definition of “adulteration” in the FFDCA to include “bearing or containing a contaminant that causes illness or death among sensitive populations” [Section 3(3)(b)].   “Contaminant” is defined in the bill as “a bacterium, chemical, natural toxin or manufactured toxicant, virus, parasite, prion, physical hazard, or other human pathogen that when found on or in food can cause human illness, injury or death” [Section 3(10)].  What this means is that with this new definition of adulterated food, FSA will be lowering tolerance levels for contaminants that can be safely and lawfully present in food [Section 204(c)(1)(A)].  Many foods that would not be considered adulterated under current standards would be found to be adulterated under the definition contained in HR 875.

In New York State raw milk producers have been fined for food adulteration when milk samples tested positive for pathogens even though, in most cases if not all, there was no record of anyone becoming sick from the suspect milk.  If the bill is passed into law, this experience will be repeated on a national basis.

Those selling strictly in intrastate commerce can still be potentially liable for food adulteration charges or for any other prohibited act in HR 875 relating to interstate commerce.  The bill provides that “in any action to enforce the requirements of the food safety law, the connection with interstate commerce required for jurisdiction shall be presumed to exist” [Section 406].   In other words, the farmer will have the burden of proof in establishing that no sales were made in interstate commerce.  What type of evidence would the farmer have to provide to show that none of the product sold ever crossed state lines?  There are a number of prohibited acts contained in the bill that do not require the farmer to be doing business in interstate commerce for a violation to occur (e.g., refusing to allow inspection, refusing access to inspect or copy a record, failing to maintain a required record, etc.–[Section 401(4)-(6)]).

Passage of HR 875 into law will result in a much greater degree of federal control of food production and food regulation in the individual States as well as on a national level.   The Feds would control to a much greater degree the inputs farmers can use [Section 206(c)(3) & (4)] as well as the products farmers can produce (raw milk).  Unannounced federal inspections of small farms will be the order of the day, reducing the level of protection provided by the Fourth Amendment.   There will be little left of the States’ police power to regulate food.  HR 875 calls for the “integration of the inspection and compliance programs in food processing establishments” of the FSA, state and local agencies [Section 207(e)(3)(E)].  The federal government will be dictating the standards used in these programs to the States.

The burdensome requirements the bill imposes on small farms and the intrusive federal control it creates over small farm operations threaten the future viability of sustainable agriculture and the local food movement.  HR 875 has been assigned to both the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and the House Committee on Agriculture.  It needs to be stopped.  Anyone who values freedom of food choice and the rights and independence of small farmers should contact their elected representatives and the members of the two committees to ask that they oppose HR 875.  Updates on the status of this bill will be provided on this site.

Tommy Jefferson

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Re: H.R. 875 Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2009, 06:15:19 PM »
Regulatory legislation in general is always a scam where some business is trying to use the force of government to give themselves and unfair advantage.

It's one of the hallmarks of socialism.  Always the result is the same.  Higher prices for common people.  A rip-off.

This one looks like it is intended to help those struggling "small farmers" living in Manhattan penthouses.


Offline palmbay lou

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Re: H.R. 875 Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2009, 08:09:56 PM »
Hello Lonestar and thank you for posting about H.R. 875, I registered with the forum this evening to do just that.  Thank you for being alert and thank you for spreading the word.

palmbay lou.

Offline flagtag

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Re: H.R. 875 Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2009, 05:25:30 PM »
I clicked the link.. No dice! 
Why have they (I checked more than one site) and the info was removed from both.

Offline Shadowrider

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Re: H.R. 875 Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2009, 08:15:28 AM »
flagtag, Here's a link to the text of the HR 875:

http://govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h111-875


Offline flagtag

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Re: H.R. 875 Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009
« Reply #5 on: March 15, 2009, 09:08:45 AM »
Thank you for the link. :)

Offline fngrlickingood

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Re: H.R. 875 Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2009, 02:43:49 PM »
lonestar, thank you for posting the information on this bill. I have read through the bill and I personally don't like it. I emailed my area/state leaders in hopes that they realize this bill helps no one but the big food producers and processers. I urge all of you to send your opinions to your congress members as well. If you live in the King County area of Washington here is the link to make it super easy:

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/memberemail/MailForm.aspx?Chamber=S&District=48

Campaign for Liberty's website (which Jack put in his show notes) also has a flyer of sorts that they urge people to read and send to others. It sums up the bill nicely and isn't too much to read. Here is the link:

http://www.campaignforliberty.com/blog.php?view=13332

Let's make our voices heard!!!

Offline Grasshopper2Ant

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Re: H.R. 875 Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2009, 10:27:48 AM »
Here's a copy of the letter I wrote to my representative.

I urge you to oppose H.R. 875: Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009.  If you have not yet had a chance to read it, please read it carefully.  Pay particular attention to sections 3, 103, 206 & 207. 

Some of the troubling sections are: Section 103 is almost entirely about the administrative aspect of the legislation.  It will allow the appointing of officials from the factory farming corporations and lobbyists and classify them as experts and allow them to determine and interpret the legislation.
Section 206 defines what will be considered a food production facility and what will be enforced up all food production facilities.  The wording is so broad based that a backyard gardener could be fined and more.
Section 207 requires that the state's agriculture dept act as the food police and enforce the federal requirements.  This takes away the states power and is in violation of the 10th amendment.

HR 875 represents a tremendous expansion of federal power, particularly the power to regulate intrastate commerce, and will likely put an end to small organic farms and other small family farms.  At a time when everyone is struggling, this is no time to put a further burden on middle class families and small business owners.

So, please oppose this legislation and encourage others to do the same.

Thanks,

Offline edhand

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Re: H.R. 875 Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2009, 10:45:12 AM »
Thank you very much for the letter.  I used it as a starting point for the one I just sent to my representative, although I have little confidence she cares about my position.

Ed

Offline Grasshopper2Ant

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Re: H.R. 875 Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2009, 10:54:58 AM »
My rep doesn't care about my position either, but I did my duty.

Offline Jack Crabb

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Re: H.R. 875 Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2009, 11:30:52 AM »
"House Resolution 875, or the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, was introduced by Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., in February. DeLauro's husband, Stanley Greenburg, works for Monsanto – the world's leading producer of herbicides and genetically engineered seed."

"Another "food safety" bill that has organic and small farmers worried is Senate Bill 425, or the Food Safety and Tracking Improvement Act, sponsored by Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.  Brown's bill is backed by lobbyists for Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland and Tyson."

For more, see: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=92002

Offline lonestar

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Re: H.R. 875 Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2009, 03:42:11 PM »
Thanks Mike, for the info on who her husband is.  I was trying to backtrack and find "follow the money" and you found it.

Offline fngrlickingood

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Re: H.R. 875 Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2009, 04:24:01 PM »
My rep doesn't care about my position either, but I did my duty.

Hi grasshopper2ant, I wrote my representative and senator too and here is what they replied with:

State Representative said:

"I don't know which bill you are referring to, because all state bills have four numbers.  This might refer to a federal action, in which case you should be in touch with Congressman Jay Inslee or Senators Cantwell or Murray.  Good luck."

State Senator said:

"I appreciate you taking the time to write me.  With regards to HR 875, that is best addressed at the federal level. As a state legislator, I have no impact on any federal  related issues. You may want to contact your Congressman, Rep. Jay Inslee. I'm sorry to pass the buck on this one but I'm really trying to focus all my energies on state issues affecting education, health care, and transportation. "


I guess that didn't do anything :(