Posted on Freedom Advocates on August 28th 2009
Houston, We DO Have a Problem……
Is there a problem in our food supply? Most people recognize that more issues exist now then in the past several decades.
What has changed in the past twenty years in the food chain? That’s where it gets tricky. Two elements stand out:
- A tremendous increase in imports.
- The FDA and the USDA have implemented Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plans instead of actual inspections at processing plants.
HACCP is an international standard—along with ‘risk-analysis’, ‘risk management’ and others—applied through the “Sanitary Phyto-Sanitary Agreement” of the World Trade Organization. HACCP is supposed to increase food safety by requiring processing plants to design safety protocols that they submit to certifiers for approval. Inspections are then conducted, but not nearly as frequently nor with as much rigor as they once were. Instead, unproductive paperwork adds to overhead.
Now the march is on to bring HACCP to the farm. But do food problems originate on the farm? Not usually. E-coli contamination in meat comes from sloppy practices at slaughtering plants where, reportedly, cattle are processed so fast that they sometimes still moo as they are being skinned. When intestinal material gets on the meat, it can contaminate the meat with e-coli that lives naturally in the intestines.
The answer to this problem is to slow the line down and be more careful (humane) in the butchering process. The answer is not to audit farms for the presence of e-coli in the intestinal tracts of cattle, or any other animal.
The issue becomes industrialized agribusiness in direct opposition to agriculturalists. People who raise and eat their own meat do not want to eat antibiotic residues or steroids in their dinner. Those who run giant feed lots to bring animals up to slaughter weight as quickly as possible have more interest in using steroids and feeding antibiotics; yet they don’t all implant steroids or feed antibiotics. Even the largest feedlots are subservient to the dwindling number of meat packing plants. Five plants now control over 80% of slaughter.
The same is true with vegetables and other produce. Processing is usually where contamination occurs. Crops are not raised in a vacuum without contact with any wildlife or birds that may off load their alimentary canals as they fly over catching bugs. Trying to run a completely ‘pest free area,’ as international standards instruct, is antithetical to reality. If you want serious food scarcity, try to keep life from playing its part in the production of food. Washing produce before eating is simply the responsibility of whoever is preparing the food. Not something to be micromanaged by bureaucrats swarming over farms with checklists that are 20-plus pages long and a penchant for sterility that rivals Howard Hughes.
The food safety bills, like HR 2749, that have been put forward in the U.S. Congress all have three things in common that will not address the problems of real food safety in the least. Instead they create new revenue streams for more bureaucrats and add several layers of paperwork onto those who would like to continue to fight the weather, wildlife, multinational corporate consolidation and government regulators in order to feed the nation and themselves.
The three main issues in all the so-called “food safety” bills are that they:
- Apply international standards to fulfill obligations of international agreements.
- Make American grown food captive supply for export.
- Require certification and auditing on production and all processing.
‘International standards’ are a mix of guidelines from:
- Codex Alimentarius,
- The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE),
- The International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC).
Taken together, these become “Good Agricultural Practices” (GAP). GAP requires full traceability back to the farm of origin, with all processes along the way (on every article of food worldwide) being certified, verified, audited, and documented. The enormous level of scrutiny and bureaucracy of such a system should give anyone pause.
The fastest growing segment of agriculture in the United States is small farms and the local food movement. The international standards will bury the production side of this movement in paperwork that would choke an IRS agent. People simply will not continue to sweat and toil in their pastures and fields only to sweat over paperwork with fines, penalties, and inspection fees as the likely reward for their efforts.
The answer to the honest concerns about food safety is to have Congress instruct agencies in charge of inspection to ignore HACCP and actually inspect the processing plants that they already have the authority to inspect, and let those who wish to export do so by following the protocols in the Export Verification Services of the USDA. Passing legislation that will drastically increase regulatory authority of the FDA and USDA is not going to address the problem that exists, but it sure would increase their revenue stream and further the economic collapse of rural America.
A few links:
For the fun of implementing HACCP, think of a farm:
http://www.ourfood.com/HACCP_ISO_9000.html#SECTION001600400000000000000 and keep scrolling, please.
Then: http://www.oie.int/eng/normes/mcode/en_sommaire.htm and look at the sections on animal traceability and identification.
Also: http://www.codexalimentarius.net/web/standard_list.jsp and look at traceability and good hygienic practices.
Live cattle slaughtered—one of several articles on this: http://www.ericsecho.org/investigation.htm
In Depth on HR 2749: “Welcome to the Global Plantation” http://www.newswithviews.com/Hannes/doreen100.htm
Check this out: HR 2749
Food Safety Bills, Like HR 2749 – Misdiagnosis Strikes Again by Doreen Hannes
This article contains links to outside sources not controlled by Freedom Advocates and therefore are subject to change.