The “Food Safety Modernization Act,” also known as the S.510 bill, aims directly at independent farmers across America, in turn supporting the large corporate food conglomerates. The government claims that this bill increases safety for everyone, by giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) more control to recall products and to enforce stricter growing requirements farms. This seems benign so far, right? Well, it’s not.
The Bill has negative implications for small, often times organic, farms. The bill criminalizes seed saving, from season to season. This clearly has no other beneficial effect that making it easier for large corporate entities, such as Monsanto, the company responsible for the proliferation of genetically modified foods and the use of pesticides. The Bill would also mandate the filing of a large amount of paperwork that many smaller farms likely would not have the resources to comply with. A study by Senator Tom Coburn‘s (R-OK) office states “on the whole this bill represents a weighty new regulatory structure on the food industry that will be particularly difficult for small producers and farms to comply with (with little evidence it will made food safer.) On the other hand, the bill does include an amendment from senator John Tester (D-MT) which would exempt the massive amount of paperwork, and federal regulation for farms that garner under $500,000 a year in sales.
Hopefully this amendment is included if the bill passes. A vote is scheduled for this Monday, November 29, 2010.