Tuesday, June 19, 2007

From the Center for Food Safety

This is a copy of an email I received today:

Tell the House Agriculture Committee Not to Allow Language Preempting State's Rights in Farm Bill

Dear Bob,

House Agriculture Committee to Consider Language in the Farm Bill that Would Deny State’s Rights to Protect Citizens from Risky Foods

The U.S. House subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry passed new language added to the 2007 Farm Bill that would bar states or localities from prohibiting any food or agricultural product that the USDA has deregulated. This language will now go before the full House Agriculture Committee as early as next week. The new language reads:

SEC. 123. EFFECT OF USDA INSPECTION AND DETERMINATION OF NON-REGULATED STATUS.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no State or locality shall make any law prohibiting the use in commerce of an article that the Secretary of Agriculture has—
(1) inspected and passed; or
(2) determined to be of non-regulated status.

The primary intent of this passage is to deny local or state rights to regulate genetically engineered crops or food. This would wipe out the restrictions passed by voters in four California counties and two cities, and could limit the powers of the California Rice Certification Act and its ability to prohibit the introduction of GE rice varieties, as well as threaten similar regulation on GE rice in Arkansas and Missouri. Local and state laws pertaining to GE crops have also been passed in Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin. All of these democratically enacted laws are threatened by this language.

The sweeping language of Section 123 would also prevent states from prohibiting the sale of USDA-inspected products. This could prevent local health inspectors at a supermarket from condemning contaminated meat or spoiled poultry! Since 90% of food inspections are done at the state and local level, the impact could be severe.

After recent problems with Melamine in pet and livestock feed, Listeria in chicken, and E. coli contamination in spinach and ground beef, we need more food safety protection not less. More than 40 environmental, animal welfare, consumer and food safety organizations sent a letter to the Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee opposing this dangerous language.

Tell the House Agriculture Committee to remove Section 123 from the Farm Bill, which would hinder state safety and animal welfare programs and preempt democratically enacted local and state regulations on GE crops.

*If you can't see the links in this email take action online at http://ga3.org/campaign/House_Ag



Send a letter to the following decision maker(s):
House Agriculture Committee

Below is the sample letter:

Subject: No Preemption Language in the Farm Bill!

Dear [decision maker name automatically inserted here],

I am writing to strongly oppose the pre-emption language in Section 123 "Effect of USDA Inspection and Determination of Non-Regulated Status," in the House Farm Bill the subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy and Poultry passed May 24th.

This language in the Farm Bill would pre-empt the rights of states and localities to pass regulations regarding food or agriculture products or methods the USDA has granted "non-regulated status:"

SEC. 123. EFFECT OF USDA INSPECTION AND DETERMINATION OF NON-REGULATED STATUS.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no State or locality shall make any law prohibiting the use in commerce of an article that the Secretary of Agriculture has:
(1) inspected and passed; or
(2) determined to be of non-regulated status.

This is clearly a back-door means of wiping out state and local food safety laws, including laws on genetically engineered crops and organisms. Such a measure should not be hidden in the Farm Bill and passed without an open, democratic process. The state and local laws this language could do away with were put in place democratically, by voters.

I URGE YOU TO OPPOSE ANY FARM BILL LANGUAGE THAT WOULD PRE-EMPT STATES' RIGHTS TO MAKE DEMOCRATIC DECISIONS TO PROTECT THEIR OWN HEALTH, FOOD SAFETY AND AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTION.

Sincerely,

Bob Gregory

No comments: