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Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Monsanto Policy

2009-03-09 13:41:47.970319+00 by Dan Lyke 6 comments

[ related topics: Food Economics ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2009-03-09 14:57:10.525445+00 by: JT [edit history]

I can actually see the sense behind this, especially with the recent problems with salmonella and peanuts, e. coli and spinach, and similar that have hit the news lately. I can't say I support the ending of farmer's markets, but it seems this will just make even small growers subject to the same regulations that the larger companies are already subjected to. Since it appears it is a miserable failure in congress from what I've read though, I'd think there's little danger in losing the ability to buy a $3 bunch of raddishes from the back of a van any time soon.

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#Comment Re: made: 2009-03-09 15:28:22.052976+00 by: Dan Lyke

The issue I see is that it's simply applying more of what doesn't work to the system. Much like what's happened with meat production, the consolidation of producers into those that can be large enough to overcome the economies of scale necessary to deal with the governmental regulation will cause a race to the minimum standards.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-03-09 15:30:04.693126+00 by: ebradway

I think, if the Government can get it's act together with the whole Gov 2.0 thing, and if "registration" is as simple as setting up a Facebook accout, then it wouldn't be a big deal. It would be even better if the legislation had size limits on the application of the law (i.e., if you are a small, organic grower selling at Farmer's Markets, you'd be exempt).

One positive side effect is that the law would drive up participation in CSAs. The laws against selling unpasteurized milk in Colorado help maintain a health goat and dairy cow CSA market (you can't sell raw milk, but if you own the goat or cow, you can drink raw milk).

My biggest concerns with the law stem from establishing "safe practices". Monsanto and even many health leaders deem chemical fertilizers, insecticides and irradiation as "safe practices" and question organic farming practices.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-03-09 22:05:39.94548+00 by: dexev

From what little I've read about the proposed law: it would require registration of anyone who produces food and transports it somewhere else for sale. It requires producers to keep detailed records and allows the "Food Safety Administration" unlimited rights to inspect records and facilities. Fines for noncompliance can go up to 1 million dollars.

For ADM, Dole, and Chiquita -- the kinds of companies most likely to introduce tainted food into the system -- a million dollars is almost nothing. To any of the people I buy my food from at the farmers' market, a million dollars would lose them their land, equipment, savings and put them deep in debt.

This country can't even manage to inspect food *imported* into this country properly (see the Seattle P-I's 'honey laundering' article from a few months back), let alone all food *produced* here. There just isn't the manpower (or the desire to pay taxes/increased food prices to pay for more people).

If I buy some spinach at the farm market and I eat it and I get sick -- I know that I can go back next week and raise hell and get results. But if I got it at Kroger, shipped from some organic agribusiness in CA, exactly no one will care unless I have to go to the hospital or I die.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-03-10 10:59:21.179233+00 by: DaveP

That's an awfully big "if", Eric.

#Comment Re: made: 2009-03-10 21:05:37.499283+00 by: Dixie Burkhart

Vilsacks policies are questionable. As of as much concern is his history of lack of ethics and transparency. Oh well, I guess he fits right in.

Dixie Burkhart Facts Don't Matter www.eloquentbooks.com/FactsDontMatter.htm