By The People

There are fundamental flaws in how American government operates today,
contrary to the Constitution and the vision of a representative republican form of governance.
I intend doing something about it: by educating and informing others who
are not even aware of the dangers.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Food, Health and Nutrition

It seems that the government wants to protect us once again, and the Food Safety Modernization Act, as its disclaimer suggests, 

"The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law by President Obama on January 4th, 2011. It aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus of federal regulators from responding to contamination to preventing it."

Well I do not buy it. It is yet another expensive government program that will create more expense for the growers, add more workers to government payroll (that is more tax revenue spent on public sector jobs) while putting many small farms out of business because they cannot afford the new "safety" regulations.

The major source of contaminated food is imported. It is obvious that we cannot control the safety of food unless it is inspected thoroughly upon arrival into U.S. ports, and that seems like a very daunting and expensive exercise. But the legislation is loaded with fees that will drive many small businesses into closing because only the large corporate processors will be capable of paying the many fees included in this poorly written bill.

For example, and this is directly from the FDA website:

Q: How will FDA calculate the total fee assessed?
A: For Fiscal Year 2012, the hourly rate is $224 if no foreign travel is required and $325 if foreign travel is required. The total fee that is assessed will depend on the number of hours FDA spends directly on the reinspection-related activities or food recall activities associated with a recall order. 
Reinspection-related activities could include conducting compliance reinspection at the facility, making preparations and arrangements for the reinspection, traveling to and from the facility, analyzing records, analyzing samples, preparing reports or examining labels, and performing other activities as necessary to determine compliance with the requirements found to be violated in the initial inspection. 
Food recall activities associated with a recall order could include conducting recall audit checks, reviewing periodic status reports, analyzing the status reports and the results of the audit checks, conducting inspections, traveling to and from locations, and monitoring product disposition.

Here in the Pacific Northwest there are many family farms, local growers who depend on the small profit margins to sustain their business and provide healthy produce to their customers. Local packaged food processing will be driven out due to these high fees and regulatory hoops they must jump through. But who will monitor the produce in Costa Rica that is imported by American food processors?

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