A new, long-awaited food safety bill is now before the US House of Representatives. It is the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, or FSEA. Introduced by Reps. Henry Waxman (D–CA) and John Dingell (D–MI), the FSEA is meant to address food safety concerns. But as you will see, much of it is not about food safety at all. Food safety issues have arisen from large agricultural operations. But this bill places its harshest burdens on small food producers and supplement producers.
The Food Safety Enhancement Act:
- gives the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) unprecedented scope, authority, and power over small farmers, food producers, and supplement producers, including the power to use vague language to intimidate and threaten;
- imposes unjustifiably harsh criminal and civil penalties for even administrative violations; and
- places undue economic hardship on small and mid-sized farms and food facilities (both organic and conventional), which could easily drive many of them out of business, and lead to monopoly control of food by large corporations.
Also known as the Waxman–Dingell bill, the Food Safety Enhancement Act has a number of provisions that would directly affect many of AAHF’s members. Although much of the bill’s language is vague—and, some worry, deliberately deceptive—it is clear that the FSEA provides for the following:
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