Food Safety Concern

Food Safety Concern

By: Larry Sipes

Congressman John Tanner recently voted for HR 2749, The Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009.

Our district has many rural farmers, several of which who have voiced their concerns with the aforementioned Act which recently passed the House. Support of this legislation in this country, this state, and especially this district, is not representative of your constituent’s needs or feelings. It is preposterous to ignore the many farmers, and local growers who take pride in taking their products to market throughout our state. Does John Tanner represent us or not?

Food produced by our local communities in this district is very good and healthy. This bill requires the growers to either break the law or go against their own religious beliefs. Food grown by local producers would not be legal to sell without submitting a myriad of bureaucratic paperwork and/or paying more taxes. It also would require doubling the size of the Food and Drug Administration. The Act also applies to anyone with livestock – any animal considered a food supply.

If each state decided to enact such legislation with the support of the people that would be one thing, but apparently, John Tanner was not thinking of Tennesseans when voting in favor of this bill. One can put the word “safety” in a bill as many times as one would want, however, what right does the Federal Government have to enforce a bill such as this? The fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects our natural right to be safe from warrant-less government inspection of our belongings without probable cause. This so called “Safety Act” presumes all farmers and food growers to be guilty until proven innocent. There is something seriously wrong with that. It goes against proper Constitutional thinking!

Citizens must realize that legislation like HR 2749 only serves to create big government-sponsored corporate monopolies of our food supply. This Act is not within the boundaries of the law of the Federal Government, and goes against any idea of a free market place – a market place made up of free people, unencumbered by excessive laws. The large farmers and big agricultural enterprises can afford the new bureaucratic costs, but such penalties/fines hurt prospective, current, small, innovative farmers, as well as those who simply want to grow food for local consumers, and this is completely unacceptable.

This act imposes obscene requirements while not specifically targeting the industrial food system and food imports. That’s where the real food safety problems are. Small farms and local food processors/producers are part of the solution to food safety; reducing the regulatory burden on them will improve food safety. This bill gives the FDA much more power than it has had in the past, while making the agency less accountable for its own actions.

Voters must be aware of how frightening this legislation is. The intention goes well beyond “food safety”. Rather, it is an attempt to absolutely control farms, animals, food, and us, including the movement of farm animals and food from local farmers to the market place. This is obviously an attack on the free market, and our constitutional rights. Congressman Tanner swore to uphold those rights and freedoms for “We the People”. What was he thinking?