There is more reason, now more than ever, to plant your own little patch of survival garden come next Spring.
Food prices are going up and are predicted to go up rapidly during 2011 as probable inflation sets in with the further devaluing of the dollar (and most all other currencies).
In the US, the Senate is currently ready to pass legislation which will definitely attribute to higher food costs, and may harm small farmers who sell locally (although there is an amendment being considered to exempt “small” farmers who sell locally).
Senate Bill S.510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, if passed in the Senate, will move on to the House of Representatives for the next approval.
The bill will layer a new set of government bureaucracy on the food industry with a purpose of further prevention of food-borne illness which kill up to 5,000 people each year.
Although preventing deaths is a wonderful thing, and being assured that the foods we purchase at grocery stores are “OK”, to what end will government go to “protect” us from ourselves?
I wonder if existing FDA (Food and Drug Administration) regulations and inspections could be improved instead of building a entire new layer of regulations, requirements, and personnel, all of which apparently will fall under the Department of Homeland Security.
Apart from the government continuing to grow and billow out of control while unworldly deficits mount, the buzz on the Internet about this bill has been the possible regulation of food from ALL sources including the small farmer and backyard gardeners.
I did some due-diligence and browsed through some of the paperwork of this bill (as much as I could tolerate before reaching for a bottle of Aspirin) on the Library of Congress website, and fortunately did not find reference to regulations on my patch of tomato plants in the backyard.
Until I see helicopters overhead with Infrared or night vision FLIR systems looking for beans, lettuce, or tomato plants in backyards, I will hold off on ordering that giant sun mesh net to hide my backyard from the helicopters and spy satellites 😉
However, the Sen. John Tester amendment seemingly aims to exempt farms who sell within a 400 mile radius and have revenues under $500K, while they would still be required to comply with existing regulations. Without this amendment, it does seem as though the bill would be all reaching. As far as I know, the amendment is not approved yet.
If anyone knows differently, or has more insight to this bill, please comment, and let us all know.
Update, I did find this:
The S.510 bill will allow “the Administrator” to enforce regulations that would require farmers to use “best practices” in agriculture. Unfortunately, those will be defined by “the Administrator” who is expected to be Michael Taylor, Monsanto VP and lawyer.
Monsanto, a huge corporation that supplies most of the seeds (95% of them genetically modified) to large agricultural mass-producing farms, stands to benefit with even more control over food supplies. The fact that their seeds are genetically modified, enables them to control many aspects of what a farmer uses from year to year, and therefore what we eat.
Given that the government’s rationale (actually, the US Senate) to introduce the food safety bill (S.510) was to save some of the 5,000 lives lost due to food-borne illness each year, then who’s to say what they will implement next based on that logic?
For example, in the US there are more than 40,000 deaths each year resulting from car accidents. That is 8 times as many deaths as from food-borne illness. Perhaps a government designed or properly approved and regulated automobile is in order, to save us. Wait a minute… I believe the government currently owns a majority interest of General Motors… Uh-Oh.
Update, 1-Dec-2010, although the Senate version of the bill recently passed and had been sent on to the House of Representatives, evidently they made a constitutional error according to reports from the House. House may block food safety bill over Senate error.
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