Archive for July 18, 2011

More Federal Control Over What You Put In Your Mouth

Farmer's Market

Safety first!  You hear that all the time.  Our federal government is saying that now more than ever, especially after 9-11.  While safety is first, it’s not the federal government’s job to make my family safe with overreaching legislature.  Here are two recent, draconian federal bills that will destroy and, at the very least, limit health freedom in America.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (S.510), which passed late last year, really puts the squeeze on local farmers.  It seems like the FDA wants food to be more centralized and get more oversight. It gives the them overreaching control by requiring registration (where it should be local), unwarranted searches (unconstitutional) and inspections (farmers pay for these), a cap of profit cap of $500,000 (completely un-American) and requires them to sell directly to consumers (not grocery stores or restaurants).  I can understand why some might think their personal safety is more important than inconveniencing these local farmers.   However, it’s not the local farm where the risk is. It’s the industrial food complex where problems occur.  The outbreaks are due to their giant processing methods.  Furthermore, I see lots of food at the store from South America, Central America and Mexico.  How well regulated is that food?  Well, only 3 percent of the food we get from overseas is inspected.

The Dietary Supplement Labeling Act (S.1310) is meant to punish dietary supplement makers for mistakes made by the FDA.   This bill is a response to a product called ‘Lazy Cakes’ which is made with melatonin in it.  Melatonin is a natural supplement for sleeping.  Lazy Cakes incorrectly is being sold as a food item and not a supplement.  But rather than handle that problem like the FDA is tasked to, the response is to have supplement makers suffer.  They must register with the FDA all supplements, list all ingredients and provide warning labels for any ingredient they deem to be unsafe by their own review.  Let’s keep in mind that even water is unsafe if you drink too much of it.  Can you imagine water bottles having warning labels?  Anyway, if they fail to label the supplements correctly, they can be taken to their kangaroo court to ensure their demise.  I do want to know what is in the supplements I take, but there are already requirements for labeling.  All facilities must register with FDA under the Bioterrorism Act.  Plus, labeling already must have a Supplement Facts table with all the ingredient information.  Finally, disclosure of allergens is required under the Food Allergen Labeling Act.

So, it’s my opinion that our federal government is dismantling our food and supplement freedom in America.  Steps have already been taken to keep us safe, but there will always be risk.  When problems arise, the industrial food complex is to blame, not the local farmer.  The pharmaceutical companies manufacture dangerous drugs, not the supplement industry.  I don’t think this is freedom.  Remember what Benjamin Franklin once wrote – “Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one”.

 

 Ben Theiss is a devoted father and husband as well as an avid runner and cyclist. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Earth Science from the University of California at Berkeley. He has been a Math and Science Teacher for over 13 years. Ben served in the US Army and is a Veteran of Desert Storm.

 

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