Friday, March 03, 2006

Food Safety Corner: Big Brother wants more control over your fridge

They're at it again. It appears the federal government is trying to wrest even more power out of the hands of individuals to make their own food choices, and to take power away from state and local governments to protect their citizens with food labeling.

H.R. 4167, the National Uniformity for Food Act of 2005, seeks "To amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to provide for uniform food safety warning notification requirements, and for other purposes." Seems like a good idea, eh?

Well, look more closely, and you'll find that the federal government wants to let the FDA run all labeling requirements for the entire food supply. These are the same brilliant folks that are letting companies fill your meat with carbon monoxide to make it look pink and fresh, even it's it's WAY past it's prime. Yeah, let's give these morons even MORE control over our food.

This is not only a food safety issue, or a states rights issue, but also yet another example of the federal government cowtowing to their corporate buddies. If this uniform law is passed, huge food corporations could save millions each year by having only one set of standards to meet, and only one body to lobby, rather than 50 states and countless local governments.

Many of the local standards exist to safeguard local food heritage and protect local species and their provenance. Check out this excellent rundown of the good and bad of this proposed legislation by Kate over at The Accidental Hedonist.

Fortunately, due to overwhelming public pressure (amazing what happens when the public actually hears about what they try to slip by us in secret), the House has just delayed the vote on H.R. 4167 - originally scheduled for March 2nd - to allow for debate on the bill and any amendments.

From the Consumer's Union petition:

"Local and state officials are now responsible for 80% of the nation's food safety enforcement. These officials regularly improve training, sanitation and labeling standards to address new food borne diseases and other dangers to our food supply whether natural or man made. H.R. 4167 puts a straitjacket on these front-line workers, who are most familiar with local needs."

Sign the petition here.

And contact your respresentatives to insist that the federal government not hogtie local municipalities from protecting their citizens as only they can.


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