Lobbying against new food regulations; Demonstrating in support of raw milk

Here’s an excerpt from David E. Gumpert’s latest report on American citizens’ efforts to bring government around to supporting the interests of real people:

Who could be against "food safety"? Representative Dr. Ron Paul addresses Wednesday's reception for food rights lobbying in Washington, D.C.. Complete Patient photo from David E. Gumpert's blog.

“….It’s encouraging to learn there were anywhere from 500 to 800 people at the joint legislative hearing in Eau Claire, WI, on allowing sales of raw milk from the farm. Nearly 200 people signed up to testify.

As Wayne Craig reports in a comment on my previous post, the big question is whether the legislation will come up for a vote, or whether the regulators and special interests will succeed in delaying a vote. (The Farm Bureau’s representative in his testimony requested that the legislature put off voting on the bill—a sign Farm Bureau is worried that there is strong support for the legislation.)

I spent yesterday in Washington, along with dozens of other food rights proponents, lobbying legislators on the food safety legislation pending in the U.S. Senate (S 510 and HR 2749), as part of a Food Rights Lobbying Day sponsored by the National Independent Consumers and Farmers Association (NICFA). At the end of the day, everyone gathered, along with several senators and their aides, for a lively reception. It was replete with wonderful food, including a stuffed pig from Joel Salatin (who served as emcee for the event), beef, lamb, and chicken from area farms…plus all the raw milk and raw milk ice cream you could consume. The main speaker was (former presidential candidate) Rep. Ron Paul, who declared, “When you have the right to drink raw milk and raise kemp, you’ll know we’re making progress.”

My meetings with congressional aides were pleasant, but difficult to assess. This seemed a fairly common reaction among other citizen lobbyists. Maybe the most encouraging thing about the aides I met was that they seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say. Most discouraging was that the aides seemed not to know very much about key problems in the food safety legislation—the absence of significant exemptions for the smallest food producers and farms, the huge financial burden imposed by the requirement for HACCP (hazard analysis critical control point) plans, and the imposition of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) standards on farmers. …”

Read it all here on the Complete Patient.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Lobbying against new food regulations; Demonstrating in support of raw milk

  1. thebovine

    I think the framing implied in the name “food safety” works against objective evaluation of the proposed regulation in question which, as many have pointed out, actually would impede access to the food people want most. And how “safe” would people be without access to the foods they need and want?

    The whole “safety” and “security” mentality is built on fear and superstition. Do men with guns make us safer? Does invading other countries make America more “secure”? Only in the Orwellian sense — that “sense” in which “war is peace”. So how long are we going to keep listening to the “Ministry of Truth”?

    For more on the political agenda and psychological impact of phrases like “food safety”, read George Lakoff. Try this article, for a start:

    http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/2008/08/george_lakoff_and_th.html

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