Op-Ed by Kimberly Hartke: HR 2749 is not about “food safety”

[How Congress Voted on HR 2749]

HR 2749 (Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009) Passes House
A Commentary by Kimberly Hartke

Cathy Raymond, of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund reports that The U.S. House of Representative passed HR 2749 by a vote of 283 to 141. The next step for the bill is the Senate. It is likely the Senate will not consider HR2749 until they return from their summer recess. The FTCLDF website will continue to provide updates on the progress of the bill.

One Congressman, Representative Farr called the legislation “historic, landmark and way overdue.”

On the other hand, I would say, HR2749 is way over the top at a cost of 1.5 billion to the American taxpayer! My Congressman’s office told me that “all this bill does is give the FDA more power and more money to protect us.” I told him, “that is the last thing I want is for the FDA to have more power and more control over small farms.”

The FDA has already demonstrated its inability to protect us from food borne illness outbreaks. In fact, Congress is giving them a reward for their failures, in an effort to look like they are doing the right thing for America.

This bill would give almost unlimited power to the FDA, and gives them the right to fine and even jail farmers, making farming a potential crime (if you break whatever rules they decide to impose).

If, instead of trying to regulate safety, America got serious about shifting back to a decentralized food system, we could save the 1.5 billion on this fake food safety measure…

…The only true path to safety is to move away from unsustainable systems that rely heavily on government subsidy, federal price supports, federal control and excessive regulation. These waves of large scale food borne illness are just the leading indicators of a system collapsing under its own weight…

…Instead, our well-meaning politicians are falling all over themselves to look heroic, as they tighten the noose around farming families nationwide. I contend that government regulation is what has driven many of America’s family farms under, and just as local farming is making a comeback (in no small part, due to the efforts of Sally Fallon Morell and her Weston A. Price Foundation) massive and sweeping new laws are moving through Congress.

If you are concerned about this huge power grab by the FDA, please contact not only your Congressional Representative, but also your Senator. They need to be educated about the impact on food safety of these food safety regs. They are going the wrong way, they do not realize the potential of local foods to revive this land and protect us from harm. You can make a difference by telling them your story.


Kimberly Hartke is the publicist for the Weston A. Price Foundation. She and her husband buy 85% of their groceries directly from local farms. They sponsor several farm drops at their National Realty office in Reston, VA as a community service.

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