- Ethan A. Huff
A recent report issued by several consumer and public health groups has found that foodborne illness costs the U.S. about $152 billion a year in health-related expenses. Prior estimates were much lower, and the groups are using this new figure to push even harder for an overhaul of the nation's food safety system.
Many people agree that the U.S. food system needs an overhaul, but not everyone agrees on what type of an overhaul. The current thrust by groups like the Make Our Food Safe Coalition and the Produce Safety Project is to give the FDA more power and funds to regulate the food supply in the hopes that food will become safer, a notion for which many in the natural health world object.
Last July, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2749, the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, and this year, the Senate is expected to produce and vote on a similar bill of its own very soon. These bills are the response to the outcry for increased food safety, but they are far more sinister than they appear.
In a nutshell, the House bill drastically expands the FDA's power over food to the point that every small, family farm, and even the backyard gardener, is threatened by FDA encroachment. Under the bill, new regulations and fees will be imposed upon all food "operations", including small farms that act responsibly, with no differentiation between the size of operations.
The FDA will also have control over every aspect of food, from the farm to the fork, and individuals will be forced to comply with any arbitrary rules that the agency may decide are necessary to ensure "food safety".