November 30, 2010
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The food safety bill finally passed the Senate today, despite the obstructionist efforts of Sen. Tom Coburn (a guy who in other contexts has sounded very concerned about catching diseases!).
This is good news for all of us. Yes, it expands Big Government (in the form of the FDA). But the old saw that an industry like this self-regulates in a free market has been disproved so many times in recent years (think: peanuts, spinach, eggs, hamburgers) that the feds had an empirical mandate to step in.
Interesting tidbit for the locavores among us:
Senator Jon Tester, a Democrat of Montana, pushed for a recent addition to the bill that exempts producers with less than $500,000 a year in sales who sell most of their food locally.
Tester is a small farmer himself, and his addition went through in the final version of the bill. So, provided the House doesn’t meddle with that aspect of the legislation during reconciliation (it voted on a slightly different bill a few months ago), farmers’ market vendors and local co-op suppliers are exempt from the new FDA authority. Unless they’re really making bank, that is.
Will that give you pause next time you’re buying spinach at the farmers’ market? It may sooner be be safer, albeit less delicious, to eat it out of a plastic bag.
November 18, 2010
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Susan linked to Yes! Magazine in her last post, and while checking it out I noticed that they are doing an upcoming issue on animals. It will be interesting to see how they treat the eating issue in particular. In the meantime, I’m keeping my fingers crossed regarding the Food Safety Modernization Act, which could be passed any day if we’re lucky.
The bill would be a complete shoo-in if people knew about it, but the news media is so focused on salivating over Sarah Palin that the bill is getting very little attention. I checked the front page of the Guardian website (US version) earlier today and there were 3 different articles having something to do with Palin. The Guardian?! What is going on here? Joe Lieberman thinks it would be nice if she were living near him soon, but I really, really hope she stays in Wasilla.