Last month I wrote an article about the proposed restrictive measures in The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (HR 875), introduced by Rosa DeLauro. The bill would impose severe regulatory incumbrances on everyday vegetable growing citizens and small organic farmers. The Food Safety Modernization Act would require citizens associated with growing, storing, transporting or processing food to be subject to inspections by federal agents of their property and all records related to food production; the government would require small farmers to conduct specials tests, maintain samples and records, and allow government officials to mandate the use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers, specific types of nutrients, packaging, and temperature controls. The violation of any of these provisions would subject the offender to property seizure, possible imprisonment, and fines up to $1,000,000.
The Food Safety Modernization Act masquerades as a set of protective measures aimed at shielding consumers from the presence of bacteria or other microbes in farmed food, but the true and ultimate goal of the bill is to suppress the proliferation of local farms within the growing patchwork of communities across the country so multinational agribusiness can completely control the production, and distribution of our food supply. Bear in mind that while this bill is hyped as a tool to modernize and streamline regulatory safeguards on behalf of consumers, there is a total absence of labeling requirements for genetically modified food already on supermarket shelves; similarly, there will be no labeling requirement for the recent F.D.A approval of meat and milk cloned from animals for consumption by U.S. citizens.
This brings us to southeastern Asia. “The government of Thailand has classified 13 plants – traditionally used as herbal medicines and natural pesticides – as ‘hazardous substances’,” according to Natural News.
“The plants – including ginger, turmeric, neem and chili – have been classified by the Industry Ministry as ‘hazardous substances type 1’, requiring all manufacturers, growers, importers or exporters of any products made from the plants to follow strict safety and quality control rules or face up to six months in jail and a 50,000 baht ($1,400) fine.”
“The government keeps promoting organic farming and reduction of chemical use,” said Tussanee Verakan, coordinator of the Alternative Agriculture Network. “Why did they put such heavy restrictions on organic substances which are the heart of organic farming?”
Just connect the dots from here. Witoon Lianchamroon of the organic farming nonprofit Biothai has. “He suspects that the move is intended to benefit chemical companies by putting obstacles in the path of those who would otherwise prefer natural alternatives. Because natural pesticides are less toxic and substantially cheaper than imported chemical pesticides, recent years have seen large numbers of Thai farmers abandoning chemical products.”
Not only are natural pesticide alternatives less toxic and less expensive, using them does not require subsidizing huge global chemical companies whose business interests are dependent on farmers being dependent on them. “Instead of tightening controls on these farmer-friendly herbal plants,” says Witoon, “the committee should crack down on multinational companies who exploit Thai farmers by luring them into buying their highly toxic and costly products.”
Don’t think for a minute this can’t happen in the United States. Because inclusive in The Food Safety Modernization Act’s language is the provision that government officials can mandate the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. If the government has the power to mandate small organic farmers to use chemical pesticides, they’ll also have the power to ban the use of pesticides they deem “hazardous” or “unsafe”, which –– as with the government of Thailand –– could include natural pesticides.
- Monsanto and HR 875, Take Two (crooksandliars.com)
- Our Seeds Sleep With The Devil – Part 2 (friendseat.com)
- Remaking Our Food Supply (chefann.com)