HR 875 – Farming to be considered “Interstate Commerce”?

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When I first read about HR 875 on the Campaign for Liberty website, I was shocked. “How could the government (attempt to) ban people from growing their own food?” Was my first thought. “Is this real? This seems too extreme.” Was my second thought. I wanted to find out for myself, so I found the text of the bill on thomas.loc.gov – this bill is 49 pages long and includes some vague language that could be interpreted – by the government – to give themselves a massive power grab; even more so than the bill explicitly allows.
When I began reading the bill, the second question I asked myself was answered first – this IS real, VERY REAL! Section 2 of the bill – Findings & Purposes states in part, “ the safety of the food supply of the United States is vital to the public health, to public confidence in the food supply, and to the success of the food sector of the Nation’s economy; lapses in the protection of the food supply and loss of public confidence in food safety are damaging to consumers and the food industry, and place a burden on interstate commerce and international trade”. Is the government, once again, reaching into the “Interstate Commerce Clause” bag of tricks to expand it’s power, I mean authority? I continued to read “…the safety and security of the food supply require a systemwide approach to prevent food-borne illness…the FDA has regulatory jurisdiction over the safety and labeling of 80 percent of the American food supply…rapid technological advance and the expansion and globalization of industries in all areas of FDA jurisdiction present challenges and require leadership beyond the capacity of any one agency or agency head to provide.”
Did I just read “GLOBALIZATION”?
So, I continued reading “…the FDA implements provisions that are 70 years old and antiquated”. The bill goes on to propose establishing a “Food Safety Administration” that would be responsible for “ the food safety, labeling, inspection, and enforcement functions that, as of the day before the date of the enactment of this Act, are performed by various components of the Food and Drug Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration”. Essentially this would create a NATIONAL Food Inspection Agency, similar to the Department of Health in most places.
This is an expansion of the Federal government, but what about the claims that it would prevent individuals from growing their own food?
Section 202. titled “Registration of Food Establishments and Foreign Food Establishments” states, “In General- Any food establishment or foreign food establishment engaged in manufacturing, processing, packing, or holding food for consumption in the United States shall register annually with the Administrator.” The bill defines “food production facility” and establishes five “categories” of “food establishment”, only category 3 and 5 “food establishments” could be construed to apply to people growing and/or selling their own food.
“The term ‘food production facility’ means any farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal-feeding operation.” Although “farm” is never defined in this bill. “The term ‘category 3 food establishment’ means a food establishment that processes…fresh produce in ready-to-eat raw form, or other products that pose a risk of hazardous contamination.” and “…’category 5 food establishment’ means a food establishment that stores, holds, or transports food products prior to delivery for retail sale.”
This sounds to me like everyone would involved in growing, producing or selling food would need to register with the government. Section 401 states in part “It is prohibited– to manufacture, introduce, deliver for introduction, or receive in interstate commerce any food that is adulterated, misbranded, or otherwise unsafe…for a food establishment or foreign food establishment to fail to register under section 202, or to operate without a valid registration…to fail to establish or maintain any record or to make any report as required under sections 205(f) and 206(b)…to transfer food in violation of an administrative detention order under section 402 or to remove or alter a required mark or label identifying the food as detained…or to otherwise violate the food safety law.”
Essentially, the Federal government will have complete control of the food supply – something Castro did when he assumed power in Cuba and not unlike situations in the Soviet Union or North Korea. “Control the food…control the people.”
If this bill is enacted it will do two things – 1) create a “black market” and 2) increase the price of food that is “legally” purchased. I wonder who’s behind this? I’ve heard rumors Monsanto is behind it, and I know how BIG BUSINESS loves regulation to stifle competition. This will drive out small farms, farmers markets and many “Mom & Pop” restaurants because they will not be able to bear the costs of meeting these regulations.