Food Fight: The Food Safety Bill Is Cause for Concern, Not Panic
Food Fight : The Food Safety Bill Is Cause for Concern, Not Panic
By Alexandra Gross (E Magazine, March/April 2009)
Over the past several weeks, blog posts and alternative media sites were riddled with panic over H.R. 875, the new bill introduced in the House over food safety regulations. The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 aims to “establish the Food Safety Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services to protect health by preventing food-borne illness” and ensure the safety of food products through more stringent regulation guidelines. No one would argue that improving the food safety standards in the U.S. is a negative move. It’s the bill’s vague language that causes concern among supporters of organic and biodynamic farming-and sparks the doomsday scenarios reflected in commentaries on the bill.
One article that flooded foodies’ e-mail boxes was the OpEdNews.com piece “Monsanto’s dream bill, H.R. 875” by Lynn Cohen-Cole. Cole expresses concern over the power and influence of agricultural giants, especially Monsanto. She writes, “The corporations want the land, they want more intensive industrialization, they want the end of normal animals so they can substitute patented genetically engineered ones they own, they want the end of normal seeds and thus of seed banking by farmers or individuals. They want control over all seeds, animals, water, and land.”
However, shortly after the release of Cohen-Cole’s article, Monsanto was quick to respond to the inaccuracies in the story. Yes, the bill was introduced by Democratic Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), whose husband, Stanley Greenberg, worked for the food giant more than 10 years ago through contract work. But according to a recent Monsanto blog post, Greenberg currently holds no ties to the company, and it claims it has no position on the bill.
Grist contributor Tom Philpott also found that Cohen-Cole’s work presented dramatic what-if situations not found in the text of the bill: “And ’24 hours of GPS tracking of … animals”? Not in there. ‘Warrentless government entry’ to farms? Can’t find it.”
So why the hysteria over H.R. 875?
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