• A PATRIOT Act for Food?

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    by Mark Nestmann: Warning
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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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