Yesterday, I came across a scary article about a suspicious bill concerning food safety issues. “You May Be Arrested Soon For Growing A Tomato,” it warned, and spoke of the bill placing “wildly restrictive regulatory encumbrances on the average vegetable growing Joe-The-Plumber, small organic farmer, or anyone for that matter who may one day decide to grow a small garden.”
Today, I received a scary chain email explaining that the provisions in the same bill will require all farms (and homes) to use specific fertilizers and insect sprays in the name of public safety. It described the outcome as “the end of organic farms and virtually all organic forms of growing food in our country.”
What is going on?
They’re referring to Bill H.R. 875: Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009
And the main reason for the uproar seems to be that the husband of one of the Senators behind this bill works for Monsanto, the chemical giant, as attested in both the article and email. The chain email also surmised that the bill is very long and complicated, “a sure sign that there are lobbyists behind it.” It warned that the bill is being rushed through Congress in attempt to get it through before the general populace can take notice (apparently scheduled to be voted on “within the next two weeks”).
I’m not an expert on reading legal verbiage, nor do I want to jump to conclusions, but I don’t like the smell of something here. The bill states its purpose is to implement higher food safety standards, in response to outbreaks of e. coli in spinach, etc. However, most of us know that insects are not responsible for such safety issues and that blasting crops with chemicals only taints food. And what cases of food poisoning from someone’s own vegetable garden have there been that would provoke the Senators to include home gardening in the fold?
Read the bill, pass it along, visit more links below on it, decide for yourself, and let’s add more dialogue on this.
More on H.R. 875: