A PATRIOT Act for Food?

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“Control
food and you control people.”
~ Henry Kissinger, Former Secretary of State

Leave it to
Congress to make criminals out of organic farmers and anyone else
having anything to do with the production, distribution, or sale
of food. Yesterday, the U.S. Senate enacted S-510, the “FDA
Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010.”

It’s the
equivalent of a USA PATRIOT Act…for food. Yes, for food. And
since a companion act in the House of Representatives has already
been enacted, the bill will become effective as soon as President
Obama signs it.

S. 510 empowers
the FDA to regulate every aspect of food production and processing.
Nothing is to be exempted…your grandchild’s lemonade stand
is probably a “food distribution facility.” So is your
backyard organic garden.

Organic farmers,
though, are the most likely target of this bill. For instance, a
growing number of consumers purchase raw, unpasteurized milk from
dairy farmers. It’s true that this poses a potential health
risk. The farmer must apply scrupulous hygienic standards, and also
insure cows don’t eat poisonous plants that could contaminate
the milk. Pasteurization eliminates most of this risk.

Because of
the risks of raw milk, the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control
(CDC), and many other organizations have recommended banning its
production. And under the authority of this bill, the FDA could
issue regulations to do exactly that.

Certainly,
problems do exist in our food supply. The CDC estimates that food-born
diseases cause 5,000 deaths in the United States annually.

However, the
vast majority of these deaths come from “factory agriculture”
– large-scale agribusiness operations. But, under this “Food
PATRIOT Act,” the FDA could force even the smallest family
owned farms to follow the same regulations as large-scale food operations.

Another part
of this bill effectively outlaws any “unsafe medications.”
Taken to its logical conclusion, this provision could extend to
dietary supplements and herbal products. Any dietary supplement
the FDA hasn’t certified as safe could be banned, or not made
available without a doctor’s prescription.

Such a ban
is already in effect throughout the EU. Indeed, when I was living
in Austria, and received a package of nutritional supplements in
the mail, I was hauled before a tribunal and forced to explain (in
German!) why I was importing “illegal drugs” into Austria.
It turns out that under Austrian law, importing any nutritional
supplement containing more than 100% of the recommended daily requirement
for any vitamin or mineral is generally illegal.

The FDA Food
Safety Modernization Act is billed as a way to safeguard our food
supply. But what it actually does is protect the interests of agribusiness
against organic farmers, lemonade-toting toddlers, and Vitamin C-guzzling
seniors. I don’t have anything against agribusiness or any
other business. But, I do object when powerful corporate interests
lobby Congress to enact legislation that enriches those interests
at the expense of everyone else. And that’s exactly what the
act does.

Much depends
upon how the FDA chooses to issue regulations to interpret this
act. It’s possible that the FDA may choose to sensibly exempt
small food producers, organic farmers, and dietary supplements that
haven’t been proven harmful from its reach. But don’t
count on it.

December
3, 2010

Mark Nestmann is a journalist with more than 20
years of investigative experience and is a charter member of The
Sovereign Society's Council of Experts. He has authored over a dozen
books and many additional reports on wealth preservation, privacy
and offshore investing. Mark serves as president of his own international
consulting firm, The Nestmann Group, Ltd. The Nestmann Group provides
international wealth preservation services for high-net worth individuals.
Mark is an Associate Member of the American Bar Association (member
of subcommittee on Foreign Activities of U.S. Taxpayers, Committee
on Taxation) and member of the Society of Professional Journalists.
In 2005, he was awarded a Masters of Laws (LL.M) degree in international
tax law at the Vienna (Austria) University of Economics and Business
Administration.

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