Welcome To CT

My Left Nutmeg

A community-driven blog featuring news and commentary on local, state, and national politics.

Ads on My Left Nutmeg

Contact Info
To contact the site admin email ctblogger at ctblogger@yahoo.com

My Left Nutmeg

HR 875~Rosa Delauro wants you to EAT YOUR FRANKENVEG

by: nolopro

Wed Mar 11, 2009 at 11:41:42 AM EDT

Text of H.R. 875: Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009

the parts that have my fellow gardeners up in arms are sections 3, 103, 206 and 207.

Delauro's husband has direct ties to Monsanto.

She needs to keep her grubby agribusiness hands OFF MY HEIRLOOM TOMATOS. (Monsanto is the Microsoft of the seed industry).

word is this bill will be DOA.. but if you care about your CSA or that guy down the road where you buy eggs, read beneath the fold.

nolopro :: HR 875~Rosa Delauro wants you to EAT YOUR FRANKENVEG
ETA: Ok, Rosa, I know Rahm Emanuel used to live in your basement but you DO NOT have to heed his credo "Rule 1: Never allow a crisis to go to waste" (NYT, day after the election). How about FOCUSING ON THE PROBLEM, FIXING IT and DOING WHAT'S RIGHT FOR YOUR CONSTITUENTS instead???

damn I'm pissed off.

I understand there's a need for regulation given the problems with e. coli and salmonella contamination.. but these contaminations could be traced back to large factory farms, and practically none occurred in smaller, family-run, organic or Certified Naturally Grown farms.

In one case, the contamination was due to the violation of existing standards regarding the use of fresh manure on crops that come into contact with the ground. In another case, it was due to a peanut processor knowingly allowing contaminated machinery to be used rather than lose a few dollars by shutting down the line for a thorough cleaning. In yet other cases, the products came from Mexico where sanitation -- as we understand it -- hardly exists.

All of these practices are a violation of not only existing laws and standards, but violations of common sense and basic moral decency. A new federal law that takes away your right to raise your own food will not inspire people who will already endanger your life in pursuit of profit to be any more diligent.

In fact, the very companies whose influence spawned this legislation have already had legislation passed that denies you the right to even know when you are eating genetically modified Franken-foods that have been proven to be dangerous to laboratory animals. They don't care one iota about your safety, and the idea that they will suddenly grow a conscience in the face of legislation they wrote to put their competition out of business is laughable.(source : John Young on Western Voices World News, great writeup)

There is a clause for exemptions (Sec 3(14)The term 'food production facility' means any farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal-feeding operation) which is really vague and is contradicted in other parts of this bill. Instead of going after the problem with this bill, it's all smoke and mirrors and filled with distractions at the expense of the local farmer and possibly even hobbyist.

Tags: (All Tags)
Print Friendly View Send As Email

Every home gardener hates monsanto (0.00 / 0)
Their genetically modified junk winds up infecting other's gardens and farms down the road from where someone plants their junk... And then they turn around and sue those people for having genetically modified fruits and veggies to protect their copyrights and patents.

They don't want their junk growing in my garden? Stop selling it to my neighbors and it won't infect my plants and seeds.

Otherwise they can STFU!

Because they are ruining my crops of what would have be healthy food.  

Drinking Liberally in New Milford
ePluribus Media

alot of people don't know the difference. (0.00 / 0)
which is sad. There are alot of "granola" catalogs that use Seminis/Monsanto, but do not label them as such

it's getting harder and harder to tell the difference between GMOs/frankenseeds and the real thing :(

.Adding Another Dimension of Vituperation Toxicity to Blogging since 1999!.

[ Parent ]
could you please identify the problem? (4.00 / 1)
The blog linked does add clarity and imho is not a credible source  on this story.  Where is the part that is reason for home gardeners should take up their pitchforks?  Not consistent with Rosa DeLauro -- more like something I would expect from Michelle Bachmann - to say that Congress wants to see home gardeners hauled off to jail or something.  

All I could find is a statement on the Organic Consumers Association website that if organic farmers are held to same standards as factory farms that it could create hardships -- no more specific info than that.

Interesting to know that Rosa DeLauro's husband works for Monsanto, but what's the link to this bill?  

Sadly, while there are fewer issues with organics, it is not accurate to say that there are no issues with organic farms with regard to food safety, much as I am NOT enamored of the unsustainable factory farm/industrialized farm model.  Organics under USDA has in some cases gone the route of the factory farm.  The model for certifying is the same as in the financial services industry:  just as bond rating agencies are paid by the companies they rate, the organic certifiers are paid by the companies they certify.  This is a structural issue in the industry that is going to continue to cause problems imho.

Earthbound Farms is an enormous, several hundred thousand acre enterprise that is "certified organic" and was using an adulterated "OMRI certified organic" fish fertilizer for many YEARS that only cost 5% of what organic fertiizers cost. Would YOU have figured that one out before a California state inspector did?  Driscoll's - which markets its strawberries as conventional and "organic" -- was another big user of this faux organic fertilizer.  Both of them are customers of certified by the California Certified Organic Farmers, who decided not to penalize them because "they didn't know", which has NOTHING to do with whether their soils are being managed organically or not.  A new producer just coming in the door would have to prove 3 years' soil management under organic standards before being certified, but these folks are allowed to do it till caught, and then not penalized.  How much more proof do we need to show that the organic model is being threatened by huge-scale producers.

Earthbound was also the scene of one of the bacterial contaminations in salad greens, and once again there were also stories about consumers of their carrot juice (botulism) on ventilators.  With PCA, I just saw a notice at Whole Foods on their baked goods display that they were at present not selling their peanut butter cookies and that if anyone had some (bet not), bring them back for a refund.  So Whole Foods, the only supermarket chain that claims to pay any attention to sourcing, also got hit. There were some other energy bar manufacturers whose products are labeled organic and who used PCA "organic" products.  Organic is starting to have some shell game problems that will damage the franchise permanently if they are not straightened out.

After HAVA, I am greatly cautious of anything that claims to be "modernizing".  In particular, I was very grateful when the EPA expressed alarm at the FDA's lower standards for mercury levels in fish and how often pregnant women should eat them.  Having a separate agency and some disagreement alerted consumers to the issue.  

what's the problem...??? (0.00 / 0)
first off, there's hyperlink to the bill in the text, I'll spell it out for you :


you don't see how Monsanto fits into this picture? it's about regulating the smaller farms and businesses, and taking money and energy away from policing  multinational agricultural biotechnology/herbicide producing corporations.

You ask, gee the problem with this bill? It sounds fine to me! Well, folk who sell at farmers markets are going to have to register with the new federal agency, the "Food Safety Administration." which will be overseen by an "ADMINISTRATOR" who "establish(ed) advisory committees that consist of representatives of scientific expert bodies, academics, industry specialists, and consumers. (fox watching the chicken coop, perhaps? Why not ask Mr Delauro??)

These growers would be subject inspections by federal agents of their property and all records related to food production. The frequency of these inspections will be determined by the whim of the Food Safety Administration. Mandatory "safety" records would have to be kept. Anyone who fails to register and comply with all of this nonsense could be facing a fine of up to $1,000,000 per violation.

People who garden in community gardens that are not incorporated may also be held to these standards.

This is a whole lot of effort geared towards protecting the public from the SMALL BUSINESS and even the hobbyist... WHICH IS NOT THE PROBLEM.

I don't know else to break it down for you, it seems pretty darn simple to me.

I know people who sell at farmers markets, and they're pissed off about this, and righfully so.  

.Adding Another Dimension of Vituperation Toxicity to Blogging since 1999!.

[ Parent ]
your link was not working (0.00 / 0)
Take a deep breath, nolopro.  I did not say the bill sounded fine to me.  I asked a genuine question after taking the time to read through your description of the issues.  

I tried three times to use the link you posted and it was not working, supposedly due to high traffic.  When I finally got a link to work, I started looking at the definitions and might as well have been reading Greek.

I finally found a link that worked.  I'm not accustomed to reading agriculture or food safety legislation, and it is time consuming and daunting to try to read a bill in its entirety to find something you assure me is there and is upsetting.  So cut me a break -- I'm sure that 99% of this site's readers are in the same situation about reading entire bills and "getting it".

I even looked t the sections that were so upsetting to people, and couldn't spot the upsetting part of e.g. Section 103.  (I am not saying it was not there - I am saying that from my perspective, I "come into the room" and see that there is a huge lot of upset and I'm trying to understand it and not succeeding in finding and comprehending the source of the upset.)

Advisory Committees:  The current FDA which regulates the majority (80%?) of our food at present has advisory committees established with industry  and its interests represented.  

Here is how the FDA describes its current advisory committee makeup:

Membership in advisory committees must be "fairly balanced"--that is, as open and inclusive as possible--according to the law. Committee membership is expected to include ethnic, gender, and geographic diversity, as well as people with recognized expertise and judgment in a specific field, such as clinicians and researchers. Most members of the FDA's drug advisory committees, for example, are physician-scientists whose specialties or research involves the kinds of products being reviewed. Other members might include statisticians, epidemiologists, nutritionists, and toxicologists--experts in preclinical (animal) studies. The FDA also insists on getting industry and public perspectives, and nearly all committees include industry and consumer representation.

Conflicts of interest regularly occur in the FDA appointments to these advisory committees.  Are these people upset about the current advisory committees? (They should be about who sits on them, many times.)  A question would be whether industry reps are voting or non-voting in the FSA formulation.  On a regular basis people are demonstrated to have industry ties who are voting on e.g. drug approvals, so it's not a minor question.

In terms of record keeping, certified organic producers already are required to do extensive tracking of their inputs and fertility management and are already subject to inspections, large or small.  However, it is possible that these certification inspections are scheduled inspections, which was one of the problems with the PCA situation -- the organic inspector scheduled the inspection visit ahead of time.

You and I both know that a million dollar violation is not going to be levied against small producers.  Compliance depends on being perceived as being fair and not using an elephant gun on a mouse.  The ag industry is  made up of megaliths -- so actually a $1MM fine is not necessarily a bad thing -- in fact, I'd love it if Monsanto were fined a million dollars for adulterating the nation's food supply. It's actually a serious fine. The fine in the nonorganic fertilizer incident maxed out at $5,000.  That is a complete joke -- compared to the profits they made from charging organic while delivering conventional food.  So again -- the proposed law may be awful but the million dollar fine in and of itself is not the problem for me.

In terms of inspections on demand, unfortunately for us, the frequency of FDA inspections has been all too whimsical for the last decade at least.  IIRC, in the case of cattle operations at the time of mad cow incidents, the chance of being inspected more than once every 2-3 years was minimal, and many operations were not inspected at all.  We lost a lot of beef sales to Japan because the US  government REFUSED to inspect stringently (we do a microscopic amount of beef cattle inspections compared to Japan and even Europe).  This may be the wrong law, I don't know, but for sure, if we don't SOMEHOW step up the regulation and oversight in this country, the various parts of the food industry are going to be hurting in a big way (as a result or more extremely ill or dead customers).  

I have to keep asking questions because Ron Paul's people are all over this with libertarian government regulation is bad heat/no light, and the sound of the upset seems to me to have lobbyist special interest group hysteria written all over it.  I am hoping Organic Consumers Association will do a writeup so it's possible to get more context for the conclusions.

If this bill lets agribusiness off the hook at the expense of small farms as you say, then it's got special interest written all over it.

It's just that sorry, without some help connecting the law to what people are saying about it, I just cannot tell if that's the case.  Because there is a concerted effort to shoot down all things the Obama administration puts forth, I am just trying to make sure that we're not on the receiving end of some major misrepresentation about what the bill does and does not really do.

[ Parent ]
Stan Greenberg does not work for Monsanto (4.00 / 1)
Greenberg Quinlan Rosner lists several hundred clients, including Boeing, Coca Cola, the NBA, and General Motors.


Your first sentence is 100% accurate though.

[ Parent ]
I said he has TIES TO not works for (0.00 / 0)
which is accurate

who's to say who the 'important' clients are? Agribusiness has deep, deep pockets.

.Adding Another Dimension of Vituperation Toxicity to Blogging since 1999!.

[ Parent ]
you were referring to greenpeas (0.00 / 0)
with your statement regarding DeLauro's husband.

well I disagree with her first sentence but I'm not a DeLaurocrat, so maybe I see things a litle differently then some here.  

.Adding Another Dimension of Vituperation Toxicity to Blogging since 1999!.

[ Parent ]
I misquoted nolopro (0.00 / 0)
She clearly said had ties/I read that as "works for".  thanks for the clarification of the nature of the link.

[ Parent ]
If you are truly interested in the subject (0.00 / 0)
 and those fighting monsanto and why there are some great diaries here.


what other organizations are saying about this bill (4.00 / 1)
thanks for the links - I read the anonymous Kos diaries.

Organic Consumers Association is saying - important bill, not taking a particular stance, but there is a problem with applying the regulations as one size fits all regs.  Raw milk producers are very upset with the bill -- Ron Paul has been trying to get raw milk legalized so that's probably the Ron Paul/bill opposition connection.  IMHO raw milk/food safety is going to be a tough sell ad infinitum, no matter how you slice and dice it.


Pew supports the bill.  http://www.pewtrusts.org/news_...

Center for Science in the Public Interest unfailingly sends out newsletters that include pointing out conflicts of interest on FDA drug approval panels, and even pointing out when reporters quote industry insiders without explaining that the person quoted has a horse in the race.  They have endorsed DeLauro's bill.  For a white paper they wrote that identifies a number of the issues succinctly, go here:

A snippet:

Yet federal food safety efforts are hampered by inadequate
funding and confusion caused by the way 100-year-old food
safety laws and their accompanying bureaucracies have
evolved. Federal food safety expenditures are not distributed evenly across all the high risk foods, but instead are concentrated on meat and poultry products regulated by the USDA. In fact, while the USDA regulates one-fifth of the food supply causing 27 percent of outbreaks, its food safety appropriations are twice that given to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The USDA has the resources to inspect meat and poultry
plants daily
, as required by law. In contrast, the FDA, which regulates 80 percent of the food supply, inspects food facilities it oversees on average just once every 10 years. The FDA's food program has a current funding shortfall of $135 million, which an FDA budget official described as equivalent to a 24 percent budget cut.  In fact, since 1972, inspections conducted by the FDA declined 81 percent.  Since 2003, the number of FDA field staff dropped by 12 percent and between 2003 and 2006, federal inspections dropped by 47 percent.  The system is also fragmented among 12 federal agencies that share responsibility for regulating food. This results in a
chaotic and inefficient system.  The three main agencies
divide duties as follows: the USDA inspects meat and
poultry; the FDA oversees the safety of all other foods; and
EPA sets tolerances for pesticides in food.

There's a Senate bill based on working inside existing regulatory structure of FDA/USDA to try to get some action going, leaving till later the issue of a single agency.

[ Parent ]
I, too, am a bit baffled (0.00 / 0)
I'm no specialist, but I did read "The Omnivore's Dilemma".  Is that like the commercial with the punchline "..but I did sleep at a Holiday Inn last night"?  

It would be really helpful if you could come up with a precis, a concise explanation of what the bill aims to do, what the alleged problem is it is supposed to fix, why it won't do that, and what the real problem is.  Just a bit for the dummies who are coming at this with no background.  That sort of lead-in would really help the rest of us understand why you are so upset.  Just a suggestion.

MRSA and pork -- connected? (0.00 / 0)
Here is a specific example of the kind of systemic problem that the USDA ought to be investigating big time, but apparently is not.  In previous quotes, the FDA has been represented as the poor relative compared to the USDA in terms of funding.  The USDA was said to have enough funds to "test every day".  Well??  I look forward to an explanation as to why the USDA is resisting finding what may be a systemic problem with our food supply that is killing more people each year now than AIDS -- and not just the elderly and infirm.  MRSA has started showing up among high school students on sports teams.

A NY Times editorial on 11 March 2009 focuses on government (USDA) resistance to testing for the presence of MRSA in the nation's pork supply.   In Europe and in the United States, studies and incident patterns suggest that it's well worth looking into factory farms and hog raising as a possible source of the problem.  In the small town where the would-be whistleblower lived (he recently died in his 50's from a sudden aneurysm or heart attack), 50 out of 500 residents had already tested positive for MRSA.  

One of the first clues that pigs could infect people with MRSA came in the Netherlands in 2004, when a young woman tested positive for a new strain of MRSA, called ST398. The family lived on a farm, so public health authorities swept in - and found that three family members, three co-workers and 8 of 10 pigs tested all carried MRSA.

Since then, that strain of MRSA has spread rapidly through the Netherlands - especially in swine-producing areas. A small Dutch study found pig farmers there were 760 times more likely than the general population to carry MRSA (without necessarily showing symptoms), and Scientific American reports that this strain of MRSA has turned up in 12 percent of Dutch retail pork samples.

Now this same strain of MRSA has also been found in the United States. A new study by Tara Smith, a University of Iowa epidemiologist, found that 45 percent of pig farmers she sampled carried MRSA, as did 49 percent of the hogs tested.


A ground-breaking investigation by the KOMO Problem Solvers has found toxic, life-threatening Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) bacteria in some pork you might buy at grocery stores.

This drug-resistant bacteria is already responsible for more deaths in this country than AIDS. What makes MRSA so potentially dangerous is the bacteria can make you sick just by touching it.

In spite of the risk, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has resisted testing store-bought pork for the aggressive bacteria.

Direct MRSA-hog farm link (0.00 / 0)
In reading the comments to Kristof's column, the objections are that the mere presence of MRSA does not mean that it is a virulent version of MRSA that would really, really hurt you, and that Kristof's anecdotes don't specifically implicate the hog farm because nobody clarified whether the MRSA was directly linked to the hog farm by testing.  Ignoring the idea that the whistle blower is irresponsible kind of overlooks the USDA failure to do anything when confronted with research results, here is a clear link of widewpread presence of MRSA in hogs at CAFO hog farms:

Recently, though, a researcher at the University of Iowa decided to do what U.S. authorities have avoided: test U.S. CAFO-grown pigs for MRSA. Evidently, it wasn't t that hard. Schneider reports that assistant professor of epidemiology Tara Smith and her team of graduate students merely "swabbed the noses of 209 pigs from 10 farms in Iowa and Illinois."

The results were unsettling: they "found MRSA in 70 percent of the porkers." Stunningly, this apparently marked the first-ever publicly released test of U.S. hogs for MRSA.

Coming back around to the topic of this diary -- the adequacy (or not) of the food safety bill sponsored by Rosa DeLauro and others, I can't yet say how this specific instance of problems will or won't be addressed by the bill.

The quote is from a Grist story, and the additional food for thought is that one researcher says that MRSA could be present in e.g. lamb or beef (given the possible link between crowded conditions, damaged immune systems, and the possibility of above-optimal antibiotic use), but no one including the USDA is testing.  

Evidence of government/industry teamwork on pork spin... (0.00 / 0)
Scroll down in this blog entry on obama foodorama to see leaked examples of correspondence that suggests collusion between the pork industry and the government (CDC, in particular) to spin the MRSA pork story and make it go away through magic, rather than action.  One example is correspondence between the CDC and members of Congress from a year ago; another is a list-serve email or two that demonstrates government, university "researchers" and industry cooperating to spin the story you and I get in response to Kristof's column.


Rosa DeLauro on Live Radio Tonight- Call & Tell her what you think (0.00 / 0)
Rosa DeLauro will be on my radio show, Live! with Lisa tonight Monday night 4/27 from 8:30 to 9:00 PM live and we will talk about this issue.  Number to call in is 203-845-3044 would love to hear from you- Stations are 1400 WSTC & 1350 WNLK. Lisa Wexler    

Lisa K. Wexler
Host, Live! with Lisa Radio Show

0 user(s) logged on.

Make a New Account



Forget your username or password?


Use the Spotlight tool to send a diary to offline journalists, with your feedback or suggestions.
(What is Spotlight?)


My Left Nutmeg Feeds


Connecticut's War Dead

Powered By
- SoapBlox

Connecticut Blogs
- Capitol Watch
- Colin McEnroe
- Connecticut2.com
- Connecticut Bob
- ConnecticutBlog
- CT Blue Blog
- CT Energy Blog
- CT Local Politics
- CT News Junkie
- CT Smart Growth
- CT Voices for Civil Justice
- CT Voters Count
- CT Weblogs
- CT Working Families Party
- CT Young Dems
- Cool Justice Report
- Democracy for CT
- Drinking Liberally (New Milford)
- East Haven Politics
- Emboldened
- Hat City Blog (Danbury)
- The Laurel
- Jon Kantrowitz
- LieberWatch
- NB Politicus (New Britain)
- New Haven Independent
- Nutmeg Grater
- Only In Bridgeport
- Political Capitol (Brian Lockhart)
- A Public Defender
- Rep. David McCluskey
- Rep. Tim O'Brien
- State Sen. Gary Lebeau
- Saramerica
- Stamford Talk
- Spazeboy
- The 40 Year Plan
- The Trough (Ted Mann: New London Day)
- Undercurrents (Hartford IMC)
- Wesleying
- Yale Democrats

CT Sites
- Clean Up CT
- CT Citizen Action Group
- CT Democratic Party
- CT For Lieberman Party
- CT General Assembly
- CT Secretary of State
- CT-N (Connecticut Network)
- Healthcare4every1.org
- Judith Blei Government Relations
- Love Makes A Family CT

Other State Blogs
- Alabama
- Arizona
- California
- Colorado
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia
- Idaho
- Illinois
- Indiana
- Iowa
- Kentucky
- Louisiana
- Maine
- Maryland
- Massachusetts
- Michigan
- Minnesota
- Missouri
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska
- Nevada
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- New York
- North Carolina
- Ohio
- Ohio
- Oklahoma
- Oregon
- Pennsylvania
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- Tennessee
- Texas
- Texas
- Utah
- Vermont
- Virginia
- Washington
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin

Powered By
MLN is powered by SoapBlox
Powered by: SoapBlox