Tuesday, March 17, 2009

HR 875: The End Of Organic Farming?

Many small farmers and organic food activists are claiming that if H.R. 875 is passed, it will mean the end of organic farming in the United States.

H.R. 875 was introduced by Democrat Rosa DeLauro in February. Her introduction of this bill represents a stunning conflict of interest, because her husband, Stanley Greenburg, works for Monsanto. Monsanto is the world's biggest producer of herbicides and genetically engineered seeds, and they would GREATLY benefit if thousands of small organic farmers were put out of business, because organic farmers don't use Monsanto products.

H.R. 875 is called the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 and you can find the full text of the bill here:


This horrific bill would establish a "Food Safety Administration" within the Department of Health and Human Services. The mandate of this new department would be "to protect the public health by preventing food-borne illness, ensuring the safety of food, improving research on contaminants leading to food-borne illness, and improving security of food from intentional contamination, and for other purposes."

Section 3 of H.R. 875 defines what type of establishments would be subject to the regulations in this legislation. It that section, a "food production facility" is defined this way:

The term ‘food production facility’ means any farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal-feeding operation.

So that would include.....

*All organic farms
*All small farms
*All family farms
*Even small family gardens if you sell any produce to your neighbor at all

If you read this bill, you will see that it gives the government the power to regulate what is "safe" farming, and therefore if organic farmers are not using enough herbicide on their plants to be "safe" or they aren't following the same "quality control" procedures as the big guys they could be instantly put out of business.

In addition, it loads small farmers with massive amounts of paperwork and administrative burdens that the big corporations can handle but they can't.

That is how you put a horde of small competitors out of business - you get the government to pile on the rules and burdens and regulations until they collapse.

That is why Monsanto desperately wants this bill. They hate the small farmers and they want to take them out of the picture.

If you care about organic farming, please call Congress and tell them to stop this horrible bill.


  1. Are you saying that you'd prefer the government to allow farmers to make "unsafe" food?

    Surely organic farmers can demonstrate the safety of their products? If not, they shouldn't be allowed to sell them to the public.

  2. if organic farmers are not using enough herbicide on their plants to be "safe" - herbicides don't make foods safe, no matter what quantity they are used in. they allow plants to grow unimpeded by weeds and competing plants.

  3. Why should organic farms not have to justify their production is harmless ? For now, organic products must prove the "how" but no word on the resulting quality. I consider it is not enough.

  4. Your not Robert Newson, your Hugh Grant, the CEO of Monsanto. Stop your guerrilla marketing before you make a fool of yourself.

  5. I'd prefer if the Gov't didn't bother trying to decide what is 'safe' food. It hasn't succeeded yet...

  6. Robert, how are organic products unsafe?

    This bill is outrageous.

  7. The problem here isn't whether or not the food is "safe". The problem is that farmers markets and organic growers are direct competitors to Monsanto, who love the idea of spraying chemicals all over everything that is grown and genetically engineering it and then never telling the consumers what they're actually doing. This is about business and has absolutely nothing to do with "safety", other then the safety of their market share.

  8. Robert, how could an organic product unsafe?

    This bill is outrageous.

  9. @Robert Newson:

    The question is not whether their products are safe, or even if they "can demonstrate the safety". The question is who determines what is "safe", and who determines what sufficiently demonstrates said "safety". Don't be a ninny! You know this is bad news.

  10. To Robert Newson: Surely you don't expect the government to take vare of every detail of your life, do you?!?! This is the problem we have had for decades. People go out and say "The government should keep me safe from X", and so they no longer feel the need to take responsibility for it themselves. Listen people, TAKE SOME PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY!! Farmers in colonial times didn't need government regulation to keep their food safe, they looked at it, felt it, smelled it; all before they bought it. If it's no good, don't buy it!

  11. So because this bill is now trying to be passed organic growers aren't safe? What about for the past 10 years? If organic growers were the top source of food borne illness, the government would stepped in. Forcing organic growers out of business is ridiculous.

    And what about the people with small vegetable gardens at home? No more farmer's markets?

  12. @Mr. Newson: read the bill. If you still have the same view, then try to grow a garden with government agents forcing you to do soil tests, paperwork under threat of $1 million fine and a record. I'd rather starve and die than submit to this crap.

  13. re:Robert Newson:

    How about your government can stamp your foods as safe, and I can continue to eat food without the stamps? Why does the government have to regulate it? They allow you to buy all kinds of unsafe foods -- Big Macs, Fried Onions, etc etc.

    Some of us, simply don't care about food-borne nonsense. I have an immune system and it appears to be working.

    Granted, I would care the government label, just as much as I currently care about the organic label (not at all).

  14. How would you define a "safe" product? After all, raw meat is unsafe to eat. Unwashed vegetables are unsafe to eat. Overripe foods are unsafe to eat. So, we can't say that farm fresh is safe at all.

    Further, the headline-making contaminations in the food supply (peanut butter salmonella, spinach salmonella, etc.) were all due to lack of oversight of big, non-organic farms.

    So, we come to the crux of the matter - what is "safe" food, and should it be the government that determines what that is? Or the consumer?

  15. What really is organic? They use the same ground water and have over spray from the farms next to them.

  16. This bill stinks.

    Organic food is fine. It doesn't need much herbicide or pesticide, and the food is perfectly safe. This looks like another example of greed at the expense of small businesses.

  17. Why are you putting quotes on 'safe' and 'quality control' as if these are undesirable or unreasonably enforceable? These concepts should obviously be regulated, and if producers cannot live up to these standards they should not be in business.
    Plus, since when was organic only small. Big organic is a huge industry, with just as much capability as the big 'corporations' to handle the paperwork.

  18. Um excuse me Mr Robert? Are you so ignorant that you cannot see the true intentions behind this bill are not public safety but market control? Manipulation of the market through lobbying the government to pass bills that incapacitate the competition. Monsanto would replace air with Raid and tell us its safer because it kills bacteria and charge 10 cents a breath. Thats what they are.

  19. Response to Robert,
    No one would want "unsafe" food.

    Can you prove that the organic farmers are producing "unsafe" food?

    Most of the bacteria that makes food unsafe gets introduced during the processing of the food. With organic farming, there is no processing, so there is a less of an issue with contamination.

    Also, do a little research on Monsanto, they have a habit on helping to introduce legislation that has little to do with function, and more to do with eliminating competition.

    This does sound like a big conflict of interest for Rep Rosa DeLauro too.

  20. Robert's comment, while poignant, does not address the question that the article raises - who sets the standard by which things are safe? Should organic farmers be required to conform to big agriculture practices (which organic farmers believe to be inherently unsafe for consumers) or will there be an established objective standard for safe food production? No one has a problem with having standards, but the question here is whether this bill can go forward without being tainted and without impropriety?

  21. I seem to remember that although organic food make up 1% of American's diets, they account for 8% of E. coli outbreaks...


  22. Look, this is obviously a BS bill.

    You don't see people keeling over and dieing from buying organic food, there are no problems related to small farms selling contaminated food.

    So the point of this must be something else, and oh look it REQUIRES THAT FARMS BUY HERBICIDES AND PRODUCTS FROM THE HUSBANDS BUSINESS..

    well thats interesting.

    Basically they are making growing food for profit illegal.

    Seriously, after this how will new agricultural businesses start up?

    They can't.

  23. Organic farming is significantly regulated and must abide by often stricter safety regulations than commercial farms.

    This bill will apply primarily to those commercial farms that may not be using safe operating procedures with respect to their uses of herbicides, fungicides, etc. There is nothing in the bill that specifically targets organic farmers by enforcing the use of chemicals on their farms.

    If nothing else, this bill may actually *increase* the number of organic farms, if some smaller farms that are marginally more productive using herbicides/pesticides decide to switch.

    Monsanto does not control the market -- consumers control the market. If consumer demand is strong for organic farm products, then organic farms will continue to operate -- despite the fact that "evil" Monsanto wants to take over the world! Buwahaha

  24. This is the food patriot act. Keep the federal government/Wall St. out of the food supply. If counties want to regulate this they should be funded by the feds or the state with no strings attached on a volunteer basis.

  25. This bill doesn't do anything but transfer the FDA's mandate to a new agency. The FSA would have to use notice-and-comment rulemaking to decide what is "safe" in the same way that the FDA has. Presumably the transfer would move the regulations that the FDA uses for "organic" food to the FSA. I hate Monsanto as much as anybody, but this bill hardly ends organic farming.

  26. Good point Robert,

    When a company is producing and distributing a product that could cause widespread harm, they should be required to demonstrate its safety.

    This is a very good setup for chemical companies. The precautionary principle certainly applies.

    Food, however, is different. Items sold as food can be presumed safe. Food producers should be required to submit to investigation in cases of complaints, and procedures already exist for this.

  27. This comes down to farmers not needing Big Brother standing over them on their own property.
    Don't want to buy from a small farm?
    you always have Wal-mart, or

  28. Yeah ... and they do demonstrate the safety of their products! Aren't you saying they don't? When's the last time you heard of someone dying after eating an organic apple? I hope this bill is squashed.

  29. robert: havent read the bill, but i suspect that proving your food is safe could mean costs too big for small gardens

  30. Looks to me like establishments categorized as "Food Production Facilities" are actually EXEMPT from the regulations. See Section 3 (definitions), paragraph 13:
    (B) EXCLUSIONS- For the purposes of registration, the term ‘food establishment’ does not include a food production facility as defined in paragraph (14), restaurant, other retail food establishment, nonprofit food establishment in which food is prepared for or served directly to the consumer, or fishing vessel (other than a fishing vessel engaged in processing, as that term is defined in section 123.3 of title 21, Code of Federal Regulations).

    Where paragraph 14 is actually the one quoted in the above post.

  31. Robert, your straw man argument is lacking a brain. This legislation doesn't prevent "unsafe" food...in fact, it will likely stifle the liability of big ag when they release e.coli and salmonella into our food supply. It further centralizes food production, such that when more outbreaks hit, more people are affected since they have fewer other options.

    As the author pointed out, the bill "loads small farmers with massive amounts of paperwork and administrative burdens that the big corporations can handle but they can't." This is how agribusiness stifles competition. Not through monopolies anymore, through regulation.

    America's small farmers offer nutritious, safe food, with less impact on the environment. This legislation would be the death knell of our only alternative to pesticide-laden grocery store fare: the farmer's markets. Besides, where in the Constitution is Congress granted the power to regulate intrastate food trade?

  32. This provides just as much opportunity to highlight the suspect practices of Monsanto.

  33. @Robert Newson:
    With drugs, the safety principle has always been that if a product has already been in use and has never caused a problem, it's automatically deemed to be safe. Certainly, organic food would fall into this category. The post is concerned not with the products, but with the fact that the new Food Safety Administration could go after processes.

  34. The problem is - that the government's definition of "safe" will almost always be biased strongly towards large agribusiness (because the agribusiness lobbyists essentially create the laws/regulations). Also, these "safety" mandates often make products less healthy or less safe overall. An example is the recent mandate that all almonds sold from US growers be "sterilized/pasteurized". This enables large farms with poor practices (livestock runoff, poor storage, etc.) to essentially "hide" their shoddy growing with a sanitation process before shipment. Other smaller and/or more responsible growers produce safe products with no need for sterilization, but they won't be allowed to because of the mandate by the US govenment.

    Evidence is coming out almost on a daily basis that organic, raw, fresh foods contain the most nutrition - and are the safest to eat. After all, that's what humans (and all living beings) have mostly eaten for millennia. But these healthy foods don't always make their growers the most money (especially the large growers) and they don't have long shelf life (again, a problem mostly for the large producers).

    I sense that the government's goal is in part to make it so difficult for small producers to qualify themselves that they'll just drop out of business. I personally know some small growers in this exact position.

  35. @1 Robert - I assume that's satire....

  36. I gurantee if this bill passes, we have more in common with the USSR and North Korea then with freedom. It's truly time to "Go Galt". Ye farmers, we'll all meet in the gulch.

  37. Well .. yep, that's politicking for yah! Why would she care about any personal choice, when her nest will be grossly feathered! why would anyone in Government object .. when their nests will be grossly feathered.

    Over here in the U.K. we get shit on every day by our Politickers; everyone of them is scum .. with a grossly feathered lifestyle.


  38. Our recent food based problems haven't originated with the farms, they've originated with those that process the raw ingredients. E. Coli contamination doesn't originate on the ranch, it happens when the meat is processed. Salmonella growth doesn't begin at the peanut farm, it happens at the peanut processing plant. We have agencies and processes in place to regulate safety at these processing plants. Use the money to fund more inspections and prosecute those that flaunt the existing safety regulations. Then we'll have a safer food supply.

  39. We already have the FDA. This is conflict of interest pure and simple.

  40. Organic farming is far less pretty than most of you may think.

    Since the advent of pesticides and herbicides, farmers have been able to get more crop from their fields.

    Without these aids, farmers' crop hauls were quite low. This meant that in order for them to profit, they had to charge more for their crops. Also, less food was available to sell to the markets, which meant less people had access to vegetables and fruits, most notably in 3rd-world countries.
    In order for farmers to get more crop, they had to slash more land, destroying forests.

    Herbicides and pesticides help to generate more crops, which help feed many more people than if farmers weren't using these aids.

  41. this bill is bogus

    the truth is that companies like monsanto and the whole processed food industry is killing america slowly but surely with their "safe" food and farming procedures

    BUY LOCAL!!!!!!!

  42. As a certified organic farmer in California, I can speak with some authority on this subject.

    First, operating an organic operation entails far more paperwork and inspection than any conventionally operated farm is subject too. That's from state, county and federal regulatory bodies. The posts stating that e-coli infections don't begin on organic farms but rather occur later in the processing of those foods is correct.

    Thirdly, the history of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides is deeply rooted in the munitions industry founded during the two world wars of the past century. Timothy McVie used urethra-based chemical fertilizers to blow up the OK City federal building. Herbicides and pesticides are direct descendants of nerve gases. Do you want you or your family to eat food sprayed with nerve gas? Once the wars were over these bomb factories were converted to producing fertilizers and the chemical industry was off and running to spread the propaganda that chemicals were better than nature. We've since learned that short term gain (fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides) equals long term pain (significant reduction in essential food values and toxicity) - directly analogous to the current economic crisis in that respect.

    Lastly, the food and chemical industries, led by Monsanto are the truly evil players in this Greek tragedy - not the organic farmers of the world. Once need only type in the word "Monsanto" on Youtube.com to read about Indian farmer suicides, as well as seeing a list of terrorizing videos about Monsanto's desire to control all of the seed production on this planet. It's not a joke. I highly recommend spending a few minutes looking at the video entitled "The World According to Monsanto" on youtube.com. It will change anyone's complacency about this subject instantly.

    So the question really should be this;
    why would you eat anything but organically grown food? I know I don't. Just a little basic research will convince anyone that the FDA and others are not protecting the people, but rather the industrial food companies.

    I also recommend reading Michael Pollen's "The Omnivore's Dilemma" for further elucidation on this subject.

    Organic farming consists of nothing more than reverting back to the agricultural techniques predating the twentieth century and embodying all of the essential knowledge of 10,000 + years of hard-working farmers worldwide.

  43. Buy local yes, but act federal. They get there tentacles into parliament, or congress, and influence the people that have the power to pass these laws.
    It goes on behind closed doors, with little to no media coverage, so the general public is left out of it. which obviously works in there favor.
    I think monsanto even owns the breast cancer gene, so if you want to do research, guess who you've got to pay.

  44. What is interesting to me is that the definition of "food production facility" includes aquaculture facilities (fish farms) and confined animal feeding operations (factory farms). Both of these types of farms destroy the environment and have a substantial negative impact on human health. I would hope that these types of operations would be targeted first. I am, however, very concerned about the connection to Monsanto and always weary of the lobbying power of the big agriculture industry.

  45. I fail to comprehend the significance of the economic fate of a fringe agricultural market compared to the impending Second Coming of Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ (Bless His Name!)

    Please try to stay focused on the important issues, like helping our fellow mankind to redeem their souls in the short time we have remaining as mortals!

  46. hmmm Well as much as i don't care about food i do care on government spending. and forming a new bureaucracy will create huge government spending with little or no output. hmmmmm ban the bill! ban the bill! ban the bill!

  47. Spinach with E. Coli, peanut butter with Salmonella.

    You're trying to tell me the nutrient rich locally grown food I'm eating is unsafe?

  48. Read up on section 206 for those regulations which would apply to the definitions listed under section 3 paragraph 14.

    Section 206.(a)-(b) basically set in place regulations which permit the proposed Food Safety Administration (FSA) to bring farms into compliance with established health code, and to unsure that they are not violating health laws. The main concerns that I see are the additional record keeping and the use of surveillance "as appropriate" (Sec. 206.a.4)

    Section 206.(c) Includes language that sets regulations for meeting minimum standards in regards to ensuring that farms are tracking potential hazards, have a written food safety plan (probably akin to a list of preventive measures in use), and - perhaps most disturbingly - are following minimum standards with respect to fertilizer use, nutrients, hygiene, packaging, temperature controls, animal encroachment, and water (Sec. 206.c.3). Section 206.c.4 addresses the production of animals and minimum standards in regards to health, nutrition and safety for human consumption. It's these two paragraphs that seem to be the most troubling. The minimum standards aren't yet established and could potentially include using substances which violate not only organic philosophies and established standards, but also allow for interested parties (potentially those with business interests) to set standards for the use of their own products. It is necessary to point out, however, that these are simply standards and not requirements. What this means is that IF a minimum standard for the use of a certain fertilizer is established, you only have to comply with that standard IF you choose to use that particular fertilizer for which the standard has been established. If you are using a fertilizer for which there are no standards, then there are no regulations dictating your use of it until it is deemed by the FSA to be potentially hazardous to human health.

    Section 206.c.(5,6,7) are provisions to help ensure that small businesses are given time to comply with such standards (this may even be a period for legal action against the FSA for unfair regulations!); state and local governments are to work in coordination with the FSA in setting up education programs and enforcement; the FSA must accept variance requests from producers.

    Probably of equal concern is the call for a dismantling of the FDA as we know it. Section 102 basically calls for the food related sections of the FDA, including the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, to come under the control of the Food Safety Administration. The FDA would then be renamed (and effectively restructured) the Federal Drug and Device Administration, but is would still keep the FDA acronym. This would cause great confusion during the transition of power over food regulatory power from the FDA to the FSA.

    It's clear that we need to examine this bill further if we are to make a clear case for calling for its rejection. As far as whose interests are of concern, when dealing with law, it should always be focused clearly on the populous, the public, not on you or me, the farmers, nor the big industrial agriculture companies. We are all citizens, not one above the law and when dealing with bills which could become law, we must leave our prejudices behind and focus on the facts, the text before us, and have mind clear and present enough to be able to rationally express our concerns.

    PS - Does anyone have the names of the original authors of this bill (please include a link or email me)? I'm also curious about the 20 other co-sponsors of this bill and who they are, who they are loyal to, where their interests lie. Also, it looks like this bill is being held up in committee so we may be lucky if we get to band together and really protest its passage.

  49. Have you knuckle-heads stopped to think about how this legislation could make it more difficult for Monsanto and other corporations to justify the use of chemicals and genetically modified materials? There's nothing in the bill that indicates the government could argue that not using pesticides makes a food unsafe. Look at Congresswoman DeLauro's track record on food safety before you manufacture baseless conspiracy theories.

  50. Author of this bill is Rosa DeLauro, whose husband is Stanley Greenburg, who works for Mansanto.

    Stanley B. Greenberg is Chairman and CEO of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.

    His private sector clients include BP, Boeing, Monsanto, and United HealthCare.

    As of 03-07-2009, the co-sponsors are:

    Rep. Timothy Ryan [D-OH]
    Rep. Gwen Moore [D-WI]
    Rep. Fortney Stark [D-CA]
    Rep. Bob Filner [D-CA]
    Rep. Timothy Bishop [D-NY]
    Rep. André Carson [D-IN]
    Rep. Joe Courtney [D-CT]
    Rep. Jerrold Nadler [D-NY]
    Rep. Mark Schauer [D-MI]
    Rep. James McGovern [D-MA]
    Rep. John Tierney [D-MA]
    Rep. Betty McCollum [D-MN]
    Rep. Raul Grijalva [D-AZ]
    Rep. Barbara Lee [D-CA]
    Rep. Chellie Pingree [D-ME]
    Rep. John Hall [D-NY]
    Rep. Maurice Hinchey [D-NY]
    Rep. Louise Slaughter [D-NY]
    Rep. Eliot Engel [D-NY]
    Rep. Nita Lowey [D-NY]
    Rep. Janice Schakowsky [D-IL]
    Del. Eleanor Norton [D-DC]
    Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz [D-FL]
    Rep. Robert Wexler [D-FL]
    Rep. Sam Farr [D-CA]
    Rep. Marcy Kaptur [D-OH]
    Rep. Kathy Castor [D-FL]
    Rep. Mazie Hirono [D-HI]
    Rep. Betty Sutton [D-OH]
    Rep. Anna Eshoo [D-CA]
    Rep. Eddie Johnson [D-TX]
    Rep. Diana DeGette [D-CO]
    Rep. Shelley Berkley [D-NV]
    Rep. Linda Sánchez [D-CA]
    Rep. James McDermott [D-WA]
    Rep. Christopher Murphy [D-CT]
    Rep. Sanford Bishop [D-GA]
    Rep. Gabrielle Giffords [D-AZ]
    Rep. Peter DeFazio [D-OR]

  51. I would like to say "Get the heck out of my garden". Stop stop stop!

  52. You guys really have NO IDEA how horrible this is! It is much deeper than you realize!

    See the documentary The Future of Food! MUST SEE

    It's on Watch Instantly on Netflix for those of you who have it!

  53. Food only becomes unsafe when the government steps in.

  54. It's time to move toward the gift economy - food we're talking about here. Something very different is in order - tweaking a sick and dying system is not going to work. The props are falling - we've got to get creative now.

  55. What I find most preposterous about this whole thing is the fact that the very reasoning behind the creation of this act (unsafe food outbreaks and illness) was created in the first place by such federal regulations already put in place and the corp entities that are sponsoring it. The ecol i outbreak of a few years back was recently proven to have resulted from Federal regulations demanding that farms place trenches and wide perimeters of bare ground around their plots to keep rodents and other critters out (Gourmet Mag Sept '08).

    It is a self fulfilling prophesy created to marginalize independent growers (organic or not) and destroy all local commerce. Hide your heirloom seeds my friends...Monsonto is coming for them.

  56. There's a lot of hysteria regarding this issue.

    First, as others have said, this bill is intended to provide tighter regulations on food producers in light of the recent peanut butter poisoning and other incidents. Food safety is now largely regulated by the USDA who have next to no enforcement ability. The problem was that there was NOTHING the government could do to the people responsible for the peanut butter poisoning due to lax regulation.

    It's not like organic farmers are squeaky clean here. First, there are few standards of what counts as "organic" and even when there are, like the "Certified Organic" farmer above, there is no enforcement of this at all. Plenty of "Certified Organic" produce is made with fertilizer or pesticides. That means that "organic" is often just a label to dodge safety regulations related to fertilizer or pesticides.

    Secondly, organic farmers make a lot of spurious claims about their products and those of their competitors. They claim their products have "health benefits" that do not exist. And more importantly they put out an an enormous amount of false propaganda about their competitors, like Montesanto. For example, the claim that GMO crops are somehow "toxic" and "unhealthy" vs. crop varieties they favor.

    Third, The food industry, including the organic food industry, receives massive government subsidies of all kinds. With this pile of free money comes extra scrutiny. Along these lines "organic family farms" in the US are actually killing people in the third world by tampering with food prices.

    Finally, organic farmers make the false claim that the vast majority of them are small "family owned" farms and that the vast majority of their non-organic competitors are massive agricorps. This is false. Massive agricorps now produce most "organic" products. And I'd argue that it's really unfair to other small businesses to single out farming for special treatment.

    I say this AS a "small family farmer". I've got substantial acreage that's worked by my cousins (and a small army of Mexicans). I have a hard time seeing how this is any better/worse than the contracting business my brother ran for a while. I'm not sure how "a couple of related white people leading an army of immigrant labor" translates to "family business".

    My favorite fast food place is a Dairy Bell owned by an extended family. The only people I see working in there are family members. That's a real "family business".



  58. #56 exactly.

    My dad used to grow tomatoes in the backyard; and we'd often grow more than our family would eat. SO he'd give them to neighbors.

    Obviously he failed. He should have sent some out for independent laboratory testing to verify the possible inclusion of any bacterial or microbial agents... how dare he do such a thing.

    Fortunately people being neighborly and giving their surplus produce to their neighbors (or selling it at the roadside) will now be far too expensive to contemplate.

    I still can't believe my father was such an awful neighbor giving away untested produce. They should make this law retroactive and lock him away for what he did. Or at least fine him the bill's $1,000,000 per violation per day to teach him a lesson.

    I'm ashamed to be related to such a criminal.

    ** For those who can't recognize sarcasm, this was it.

  59. People who believe that "organic" food is safer or healthier than non-organic(?) are stupid. I think all intelligent people can agree on that.

  60. "All intelligent people can agree that people who eat healthy are stupid". And Dave isn't stupid.

  61. To Dave: Im sorry to see how the pesticides, herbicides, and chemically ridden fertilizers have affected your intelligence. It really shows through your comment. You need to wake the hell up and research whats in your food!

  62. Most organic farms are small operations which do little to influence Monsanto and their cronies. In fact, the USDA estimated in 2005 that only 0.5 percent of all cropland was in Organic production. Since they are already not buying Monsanto products how, pray tell me, will putting them out of production be either good or bad for Monsanto? This is just a paranoid reaction by over-zealous foodies. Your intentions are good but your aim is way off target.

  63. Actually, the smaller organic farms are subject to many regulations, and they are often excluded from the farm subsidies. The pesticides and insecticides and genetic manufacturing of seeds and crops is unhealthy as well. We have no idea what the actual long term consequences are of the application of left over chemicals (which is how pesticides got their start) and it is just an overall bad idea to meddle with what has taken hundreds of thousands of years to evolve. Monsanto is dead wrong. And they need to get out of our food.

  64. Re the first few comments by corporate shills at the head of this thread, y'all know damned well this isn't about proving whether the food's safe. It's about Monsanto setting the rules for judging food safety.

    The problem is the middle of the road liberals out there who respond instinctively to all such "safety" arguments. The reason is that liberals believe the system needs to be tweaked by "reforms" so that it will work properly, whereas those on the genuine Left know that the system is working exactly the way it was designed to work. And specifically, most regulations sold to the public with goo-goo rhetoric about "safety" is drafted primarily with the interests of the regulated corporations in mind. Just
    Google "Baptists and Bootleggers."

    This is just one more instance of a broader phenomenon. Like CPSIA in toy and apparel manufacture, this is a regulation designed by the large corporate producers. Its main function is to impose mandatory minimum overhead costs on small-scale producers, so that the only way to amortize the cost is large-batch production. IOW, it essentially criminalizes low-overhead, small-batch production.

    These filthy corporate pigs want to criminalize small-scale production, informal and household production for barter, subsistence production, etc., so that the only way anyone can eat is by paying tribute to some giant corporation.

    The good news is that while such legislation may be enforceable against conventional, medium-sized enterprises that sell to the general public, they are utterly unenforceable against small-scale producers who produce for barter with networks of people they already know. And that's the wave of the future: low-overhead production in the household and informal economy, using "spare cycles" of ordinary household capital equipment people already own anyway.

    When the old Sloanist mass production ecnonomy collapses and Monsanto and Microsoft are just piles of rubble, the economy that emerges on the other side will consist of microbakeries using ordinary kitchen ovens, unlicensed cab services with only a car and a cell phone, small market gardeners exchanging surplus produce for microbakery bread, small backyard workshops custom machining spare parts to keep appliances running when Whirlpool's corporate supply chain collapses, doctors working on a retainer for a neighborhood clinic co-op, etc., with a LETS system providing the liquidity needed for a smoothly flowing relocalized economy.

    The dinosaurs at Monsanto and all the other Intellectual Property Nazis, in their final death throes, may try to lean on the regulatory state to prevent their replacement by mammals. But it won't work. We're building a new society under their radar, and we'll shit on their graves.

  65. P.S. When fuel is $12/gal. and truckers are abandoning their rigs on the shoulder, grocery shelves are stripped bare, the only non-local food is emergency USDA surplus brought in by the guard, and people are grabbing food off the table at the farmers' market as fast as it appears, do you really think anyone will care what the LAW says about how we can feed ourselves? This crooked law will be treated with the contempt it deserves.

    Every time I think the morally repugnant human filth at Monsanto have reached a new low, they surprise me again. But they can't hire enough armed goons to force this shit down our throats.

  66. P.P.S. Robert Said is proving the other side's point, I think. He's entirely right that a great deal of fairly large-scale agribusiness, including operations calling themselves organic, try to pass themselves off as "family farmers."

    But such operations will do quite well under HR 875, just as well-capitalized apparel manufacturers will do quite well under CPSIA. Under both pieces of legislation, any firm that produces in large enough batches to amortize the costs of compliance over a large number of units will make out like bandits, while those who can't will be driven out of business. The practical effect will be just this: either be capable of amassing the enormous amounts of capital to enter the market and produce on a large scale, or work for a wage and buy your veggies at Kroger like the other peons. Being your own boss and trading directly with other producers as equals is only for the master class.

  67. If they force organic farmers to use chemical herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers, or genetic alteration, I will set up a case on the grounds of endangerment and attempted Murder.
    I have to eat organic. So do some other people I know. The chemicals in the food make me sick. I have not tested how bad it can get beyond the fever, cold sweats, aches and pains, migraine's, flu like weakness, swelling of hands, memory loss, and other symptoms I cannot recollect at the moment (no pun intended). I know others whose throat swell's or lungs freeze's up. Multiple chemical sensitivity is real, the government even added it the the Gulf war syndrome.
    I am not against keeping food safe. Organic facility's are inspected at least twice as much as non-organic. How do I know? I work at one.
    H.R.875 leave's too much interpenetration loop holes to those who have the money to exploit them. Why don't the current administrations in place, just do there job in the first place? There would be no need for this redundant redundancy.

  68. I guess here is the status.


  69. To #67 or "Timmy":

    Oh, boy.

    How does genetic modification contribute to your list of physical woes? Does it not make sense to have crops that are resistant to the things that destroy them that we currently have to use chemicals to prevent?

    You completely ruined my train of thought with your incessant abuse of apostrophes and bad grammar. You are very well versed on what chemicals do to your system, albeit the list of their adverse effects is so long you forgot some of them, and puns are always intended. I'm no professor or doctor, but I think you should spend some time reading about proper apostrophe usage and grammar. If you are still very young and going through grammar school you may skip the following and go to recess, if not, it is strongly suggested that you complete the following task before voicing any more of your silly-sounding opinions:

    Immediately copy and paste the link below into your browser, eat some Green Giant green beans out of the can with some butter and salt,(please recycle the can!) and study hard:


    Please read this post carefully to take some of the utter ignorance out of your typing. Interpenetration? Seriously? We'll do spelling next week, okay?

    People like you vote, and it scares me. Call Erin Brockovich when it's time to take them down, whoever it is you refer to in your first sentence as "they". She'll be your only hope, besides some continuing education classes at your local community college.

  70. If only we could read: The bill regulates 'food establishments' which are defined as:

    (A) IN GENERAL- The term ‘food establishment’ means a slaughterhouse (except those regulated under the Federal Meat Inspection Act or the Poultry Products Inspection Act), factory, warehouse, or facility owned or operated by a person located in any State that processes food or a facility that holds, stores, or transports food or food ingredients.
    (B) EXCLUSIONS- For the purposes of registration, the term ‘food establishment’ does not include a food production facility as defined in paragraph (14), restaurant, other retail food establishment, nonprofit food establishment in which food is prepared for or served directly to the consumer, or fishing vessel (other than a fishing vessel engaged in processing, as that term is defined in section 123.3 of title 21, Code of Federal Regulations).

    Note that food production facilities as defined in paragraph 14 are NOT included in the food establishments to be regulated.

    (14) FOOD PRODUCTION FACILITY- The term ‘food production facility’ means any farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal-feeding operation.

    OK, so would someone explain to me how Monsanto is going to get their policies forced on EXCLUDED facilities?

    Yes, a power-mad, industry-influenced czar could extend and twist the law and that has been the case since power was delegated to a few. But then writers seeking to propagate the idea that we are living in the world's darkest hour seem to have an agenda as well.

  71. I'd prefer that corporations be forced to prove pesticides and herbicides are safe for our bodies if regulation was so important.

  72. Does anyone have any comment regarding the EXCLUSIONS section? As rich (#70) mentioned above it seems as though farms would not be part of the regulations. Thoughts?

  73. to #69..... you said
    How does genetic modification contribute to your list of physical woes? Does it not make sense to have crops that are resistant to the things that destroy them that we currently have to use chemicals to prevent?........

    Well dear, genetic modification of seed is killing off the honey bees. Hmmmmmmm wonder how many of your chemically sprayed foods include honey in the ingredients. Get a grip people, all the chemicals sprayed on foods, all the stuff injected into animal food suplies is making US, humans, chronically ill.

  74. Rich #70 pointed out that food production facilities (i.e. farms) are excluded from the definition of "food establishments", and it is indeed "food establishments" that are most heavily regulated under this bill, but Section 206 of this bill does regulate food production facilities too. However, I think the organic growers can look at this bill the other way around. It is organic agriculture, not conventional, which already has extensive paperwork requirements. You have to be able to document all of your inputs, and the people making products from organically-grown food have to keep records on exactly where their ingredients come from. This is exactly the sort of information which is needed to keep food safe and to quickly trace back food to is origins in the event that something does get contaminated somewhere. Generally, conventional agriculture does not have these recordkeeping requirements. Thus it is the non-organic farmers that will have an increase in their paperwork under this bill, so this will reduce the paperwork advantage that conventional agriculture currently has, and thus will help organic agriculture.

    I do think that government has an important role to play in food safety. Do people really want to see all slaughterhouses unregulated and able to cut corners wherever they want?

    Finally, I know and trust some of the legislators who are sponsoring this bill. The ones I see listed from Oregon and Washington are strong proponents of small farms and organic agriculture. Also now with our new President, I have a much better feeling about the type of regulations that the current administration would adopt as compared to what the past presidential administration might have done with a bill like this. Overall I can see a reason to be cautious, but the bill itself looks like it has a lot of good points that will help make our food system safer, and it should not negatively impact organic agriculture.

  75. I also wanted to add a comment on a good post that Pixelform had (comment #48). Pixelform was concerned that the bill lists "fertilizer" as one of the things that might be regulated, and expressed concerns about the sort of requirements that might be set. I think what might have triggered this though is an issue that came up in Washington and Oregon a few years back, when it was found that certain manufacturing industries were selling some of their industrial byproducts as fertilizers because they had nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, but they also had low concentrations (or in one case, not-so-low concentrations) of heavy metals. Some of these materials may have had to have been regulated as hazardous waste if they were not being used as a product. Our states found that our existing regulations did not cover limiting heavy metals in fertilizer. I haven't followed up recently to see if this was fixed nationally, but under HR 875, it would be easy to ban the use of industrial byproducts as fertilizer if those byproducts also put the public health and safety at risk.

  76. Does anyone know of any gatherings in LOS ANGELES that will be protesting, or sharing info regarding this bill? I'd like to shoot some footage and get 'it out there!'


  77. Hate to tell you but, Sec. 3 par. 13b ONLY excludes a "FOOD PRODUCTION FACILITY" from REGISTRATION!

    It does NOT exclude them from the requirement to comply with the legislation. There are more than 100 requirements (so far, and I've only skimmed through it) that Food Production Facilities (i.e., your backyard garden) will be required to comply with and that's not including the record keeping requirements.

    Believe me, if your "category 5 food establishment" doesn't have it's records straight during its YEARLY inspection, you'll be in for some hefty fines.

    Do you have MSDA statements for all your fertilizers, pesticides, peat pots, etc.

    Do you have the lab test results from the manure you dumped on it from your own cows to prove it doesn't have e.coli.

    Do you have a chemical analysis of the water you're using on your plants? After all, it's usually well water or pumped from a creek.

    I could go on and on...

    There are a LOT of things in this Bill that I'd rather see die by the wayside.

  78. Eesh regardless of the technicalities of the bill she should step away from such a HUGE conflict of interest, even if it is good in the long one it's getting smeared by her associations.


  79. This is a form of enslavement to insure selfish people who do not care about life the ability to control the market. Lets all plant our own gardens and forget about the food stores.

  80. If Congress really wants to promote food safety, they should ban CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations), where grazing animals get to stand in one spot their whole lives, eating food their digestive tracts are not designed to digest, and pooing E coli-laden manure which then gets into irrigation water, drinking, water, etc. That's how all the spinach and lettuce got contaminated a while back--some of it was "organic," but all the produce was "factory-farmed" in 4 states plus Mexico, but shipped to ONE processing plant in Calfornia next to a CAFO, which spread E coli into the water used to "wash" produce usually eaten raw. Less industrial ag! More local produce eaten in season!

  81. @ rond430 #77
    Wouldn't it stand to reason that if "registration" was not "required" for those not "included", they then would not be disclosing their whereabouts or organic, backyard practices to the authorities that would do the yearly inspections by not registering? I say, don't tattle on yourself.

  82. right because every day so many people and get sick from american food that its worth sacrficing personal detention random private property seizures and searches, and taking away a state's right to regulate their agriculture. Because in recent history food in America is so unsafe.
    One contrived peanut scandal out of millions of products and markets and you have the final piece of the plan for transferring the American family farmland back to big business and then gov't ownership. Monsanto is given land of bankrupt farmers who don't pass quality inspection in same way bankrupt washingtonmutual and bear stearns was given to jp morgan.
    then next year, when monsanto purposely or whatever misses payments on a Bank of America farm loan : the property goes to them
    when the Bank of America defaults on its current 90 billion of gov't loans 2 years from now, the property goes to USA.
    There's absolutely no armgument anywhere online for passage of this bill, just people blogging "its not as bad as people say it is."
    why give away our freedoms and state rights because "its not like people say it is" theres no fear, no reason for a patriot act on food

  83. Don't you get it? all they want is power, the government is not for the people. only for themselves (power). Check out the videos on this site. http://www.nutrition-circle.com

  84. Geneticide...

    Like Mount St. Helens, these Monsanto felons...
    Gonna blow us like noses with allergies...
    Dead bees... Monopolies...
    Dumbfounding fathers with test tube democracies...

    "Shut up and eat your dinner... Must say you're getting thinner..."

    Scared of what's hiding underneath that label?
    Would you bring Round-Up to your table?

    Engineered utopia... Gene-modified cornucopia...
    We playing backgammon... 'We be Jammin'...
    Right into the arms of famine...

    We got bleached chicken and hormone beef...
    A.D.D. corn syrup... All this shit is banned in Europe!!!

    But we have the Red, White, and Blue gene-spliced pride...
    Though we never know what passes when our ass is open wide...
    The good old boys drinking DNA cried...
    "This'll be the day the food supply died..."

    And some future hence, when this planet is discovered anew...
    With no population, but mutual mutation in the vegetation...
    Like a message in a bottle...
    Of babies' steroid milk...
    Maybe crop circles are an S.O.S. with corn silk...

    So please! Just stop this fucked up hayride...
    Nature ain't our friend no more, and she was never on our side...
    Let the record state that it's never too late to have tried...
    But we'll all share the blame, when humanity's final claim...
    Is genetically engineered genocide...

  85. Monsanto is evil, no denying that.

    This bill needs to be dropped. If the politicians really want this bill, if they really think it’s needed then they need to write a bill where everyone can understand it. The way this thing is written is suspicious enough. It goes back and forth and is ridiculous. There is no reason to have such a large enormous bill like this to re-invent the wheel.

    The changing of names from the FDA to the new FDA is suspicious and very expensive. Take all the money it would cost just for the name change alone and hire more food inspectors and get on with the job there are already laws written for.

    This thing is too suspicious from the start; they want it, then rewrite it so the people can understand it without needing a law degree.

  86. Robert Newson- I would prefer that the government stay out of my food business! Organic seeds and organic foods are a person's choice. Organic is safe. That's why we want it. The government might want to regulate Monsanto for their genetically engineered seeds, but since when in history has the government been involved in what we plant and whether we want organic seeds or not? We don't need more laws, nor do we need homeland security to monitor our vegetable seeds. I think we have enough excess spending in government!

  87. Robert Newson- I don't think we need big brother involved in our decision whether to plant organic or not. It is not governments place to monitor what I choose to eat. Organic is safe. Monsanto and their genetically engineered seeds need to be monitored for safety, not the organic consumer and farmer. The cost would increase our prices and the farmers. We don't need homeland security for our organic farms and seeds. We have become so paranoid by the media and big corporation propaganda that we are constantly creating new ways to tax ourselves and keep us down. We need to invest in safe farming and good old fashioned seeds that our parents and their parents used!

  88. If they want to make a bill about food safety they should leave family gardens out of it!

    Just another way for the government to control our lives. Welcome socialism!

  89. I think #87's comment is important: Do we really need more gov't spending?

    Let's set aside the organic=good, monsanto=evil argument for just a moment (we can come back to it, I promise), and instead just look at the logistical quagmire that this bill would create!

    According to the US EPA:

    "...about 960,000 persons claiming farming as their principal occupation and a similar number of farmers claiming some other principal occupation. The number of farms in the U.S. stands at about two million."

    Two million. That doesn't sound big in today's era of $50billion bailouts, but it would take a large amount of human resources to even begin to provide oversight for two million farms.

    We would end up with a situation like the USDA- "voluntary compliance" would rule the day, making any positive effects of this legislation a pipe dream.

    On that lack of merit alone I am against this bill.

    There is no need to even engage in the (relevant and interesting but beaten like a dead horse) debate about the pros and cons of organic food vs. GMO food grown with petro-fertilizers.

    The spirit of our nation is to let each individual eat what appeals to that individual, and suffer the consequences or enjoy the benefits as they come.

  90. You should have the choice to eat what you determine to be safe, and I insist that I should also have the choice to eat what I determine to be most nutritious and safe, ORGANIC.

  91. There is no stopping the government. If the bill does not pass they will just buy out organic farms and turn them into monsanto entities. I think people should look towards proving these accusations about monsanto and hold people accountable in the publics eye. The can of worms must be opened! I used to live right beside Monsanto in Oxnard Ca. I had friends that had worked there and said MONSANTO is EVIL. Nazi concentration camp EVIL! Of course wheres the proof? I live on an island now and only eat nothing touched by them. Its up to America to tune out of their daze, stupper or whatever you wanna call it. Your also drinking flouride in your water. The Governments war on terror is a war against its own citizens. They belive we are destroying the world by overpopulation and its their job to stop it. maybe its true but we can work topgether to live sustainably. Dont let them kill you slowly by poisoning you. Atleast do some research google : Esoteric agenda and watch the video. You will never be the same. Very Scary. And dont call me a damn conspiracy theorist its obvious there is a group of people in power that will do anything to hold on to that power. And your already being attacked every time you shop, eat, drink, and watch TV etc. Wake up Dummies. I moved to escape.

  92. the federal government cant manage a damn thing properly, look at ss, medicare, medicaid, hud, foriegn affairs, the economy, and now they want to manage our food, ohh lord we are all gonna starve to death... God help us all..

  93. Organic farmers now have to demonstrate that their food production and distribution methods and processes are safe and have been doing so successfully for decades. While this bill appears to strengthen the safety of food production, labeling, etc., it opens the door to practices the government and other unnamed authoritative agencies deems best for safety. I’m assuming these are bodies such as the FAO and Codex Alimentarius Commission. In recent history for other countries, improved food safety and production has meant herbicides, seeds that have been genetically modified, and debilitating overhead. I only mention other countries because of the debacles that have happened there and the same person that was behind those efforts (Monsanto) is also behind this bill. We need to make a strong stance against this bill. Please call your representatives to voice your concern and sign the petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Food-farms-seeds-HR875. Make sure that you click “sign” on both the first and second pages or your signature will not be counted.

  94. So what they are saying is if you eat food that hasn't been spayed with a piosonous chemiacal you will get sick. Did I just read that wrong?

  95. Perhaps their shoukd be a request to clearly inform the public just what is problem what are likely to be for the various grown foods. The meat processing industry is saying, the safest thing to do is to just make sure you cook your meat enough, whatever... So what can you get from fresh fruit and vegetables, and how? Information is powerful, if you wish.

    Sincerely, Gregory D. MELLOTT

    PS: If this helps. Perhaps you can help me also. Those interested in find better ways to have the world work, please pick apart my site. http://your2cents.com/ . One cannot inprove things without information. The trade balance one may may be a great idea for the poor around the world trying to fight corruption perhaps induced by drug trafficer.

  96. this bill is completely outrageous!! the human race has survived this long with food the way it was meant to be, and no one knows what these different herbicides and pesticides will end up doing to us in another 20, 50, or even 100 years.
    we deserve to decide for ourselves how our food is grown!

  97. this new bill is extremely out of the logical human mind. as edar stated, "the human race has survived this long with food the way it was meant to be, and no one knows what these different herbicides and pesticides will end up doing to us in another 20, 50, or even 100 years." how do herbicides and pesticides make food "safe" if theyre both PURE chemicals? that is exactly what will destroy humanity.

  98. This violates the TENTH AMENDMENT>

    Debra Medina and sane governors will nullify it back into the pit of Hell from whence it came, if it passes.

    I hope.

  99. And you think this is straight?

    Exactly what are the standards, conditions or requirements which will need to be met under this bill?
    Not yet defined...And who do you think is going to draft them?

    I'll tell you who - Monsanto's ex vice president Michael R. Taylor; back for another stint with the FDA, previously having helped to usher in GMOs and draft policy on rBGH as the FDA's Deputy Commissioner for Policy...

    See here for more detail:

  100. The government lost it's right to govern by it's own breach of contract. Through it's incompetence and ill-intentions it has destroyed our health, our finances, and our national defense. I have an organic garden now, and I have no care anymore what the government says I can, or cannot, do. I suffered under enough nerve agents in war, and don't intend to eat any more in my food. To hell with what they write, it's not like they can enforce their laws if the people refuse to obey them anymore. I judge my actions more on the lines of if I'm not hurting anyone, then I've done nothing wrong; rather than worrying if I break a law or something. To write these crooks is to validate their legitimacy. To pay them any attention, or money, is to do the same. If you do that, you are truly supporting terrorism in my opinion. That's all.

  101. Clearly some well-meaning people opposing this bill, but you're barking up the wrong tree. I skimmed through the bill, and it looks like a pretty good bill to me.

    Also see link below.


  102. A good bill? Are you kidding me!!! This country has thrived on farmers and fresh, good fruits and vegetables for over 200 years! It wasn't until business started capitalizing on the farming industry and adding herb/pesticides to outgrow smaller farms that the money, not great produce came into play. The government has been backing companies like Montasanto for years. It's all about the control and the money. The government controls SO much of what we can and cannot do it's ridiculous. Before long we will have nothing, be able to do NOTHING except what we are given or told we can do. This is just another move into socialism and the control over the people. They already have us by the balls and you want to give them more?

    I say the government can kiss my large white.. *** I'm grown, Im and adult and I don't need big brother telling me what I can eat, where I can work, what I can say, where I can live or whether or not I should live or die. I'll make my own decisions on what is good for me thank you.