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On behalf of over a million FreedomWorks members nationwide, I urge you to vote against S. 510, the so-called Food “Safety” Modernization Act. This misnamed bill will grant the federal government unprecedented control over our diets while not making our food any safer.
If passed, federal bureaucrats who know little about agriculture will tell farmers how to “appropriately” grow their crops. Food producers will likely spend hundreds of millions of dollars to comply with these frivolous new rules that dictate what kind of soil or how much water a farmer should use. This cost will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher food prices. To carry out these new rules, the federal government is required to hire, according to Section 401, thousands upon thousands of new bureaucrats funded by “such sums as may be necessary”.
Big agriculture companies that are lobbying for this bill will easily be able to adjust to the new rules. It will be more difficult for small farmers to comply with the new costly regulations. Ultimately, this dangerous bill could weed out competition by destroying independent family farmers that provide healthy choices.
Regardless of the claims that the Tester Amendment will grant small-scale farmers an exemption, the FDA still has the power to impose the new regulations on whoever they decide. The Tester Amendment reads “if the Secretary determines that it is necessary to protect the public health and prevent or mitigate a foodborne illness outbreak… the Secretary may withdraw the exemption provided to such facility.” It will ultimately be up to federal bureaucrats whether or not your home garden will be regulated if you sell any fruits or vegetables at your local farmers market.
Contrary to popular belief, our food supply is getting safer. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, incident rates for food-borne illnesses have fallen by one-third since 1996. It only seems to be getting worse since technological advances have made it easier to identity and track the sources of illnesses.
The Congressional Budget Office has calculated that this overreaching bill will cost $1.4 billion between 2011 and 2015. With unemployment at 9.6 percent, we cannot afford even more job killing regulation. Please stand up for small farmers and consumers by voting against this bill that limits our freedom to farm.
We will count your cloture vote on S.510, Food Safety Modernization Act, as a KEY VOTE when calculating the FreedomWorks Economic Freedom Scorecard for 2010. The Economic Freedom Scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the Jefferson Award, which recognizes members of Congress with voting records that support economic freedom.
President and CEO
[Click here for PDF version of this letter.]