October 14, 2016

FDA Temporarily Backs Down on Food Control Campaign


Thanks to large-scale organized pressure from the community food sector, including organizations like the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF), the FDA backed down and has issued a final rule under the so-called “Food Safety Modernization Act” (how’s that for an Orwellian jawbreaker?) which is more reasonable in defining a “retail food establishment” which would be exempt from the most onerous regulations under the Act. Artisan producers didn’t fare as well.
To recap the history, prior to the FSMA sufficient laws already existed for the USDA and FDA to effectively regulate the big corporate producers, manufacturers, and retailers who are the source of all significant food outbreaks. But the regulators almost never enforce these laws against these corporations, only against the rising community food sector which is challenging corporate agriculture and food.
Nor will the FSMA be used against these big corporate actors. The purpose of the FSMA is to give the FDA much greater discretionary power to attack community food.
We see how craven these regulators are where they’d have to take the offensive and are faced with real opposition. (They’re far more comfortable empowering the corporations’ own campaigns and regurgitating corporate lies.) Of course they won’t give up but are now regrouping. But let this partial victory be a lesson in the need to organize and fight. We’ll need to do far, far more.
To be clear, food production and distribution naturally have a local/regional basis. So it follows that an alien central government like that of the US could never conceivably have any legitimate authority over community food. Conversely, the kind of globalized commodity systems which would theoretically come under the purview of such a centralized government are clearly unnatural, irrational, anti-ecological, and themselves have no legitimate basis. Nor would we expect such systems, which are designed to produce commodities, not food, to deliver anything other than low-quality, poisoned, and immorally distributed food with resultant mass hunger, malnutrition, other dietary diseases, environmental diseases like cancer and birth defects, and every kind of environmental and socioeconomic pathology.
And that’s exactly what the FDA’s notion of food production brings.
Of course this still hasn’t put a damper on the idolatry of the FDA among “anti-GMO” types and others involved in food campaigns. Let’s never forget that most of the food NGOs supported Monsanto’s FSMA and even kept prodding the FDA to get on with the assault when it was dragging its feet. That’s the kind of evidence which proves we the people can never trust system NGOs. We need our own organizations, period.


  1. Good to see you posting again Russ. Not sure if you’ve been following this but thought I’d drop it here. Who knows if these tribunal judges will have the balls to challenge a multinational like Monsanto but I reckon we’ll find out a lot based on what kind of precedent is (or isn’t) set…


    “The aim of the Tribunal is to give a legal opinion on the environmental and health damage caused by the multinational Monsanto. This will add to the international debate to include the crime of Ecocide into international criminal law. It will also give people all over the world a well documented legal file to be used in lawsuits against Monsanto and similar chemical companies.

    Critics of Monsanto claim that the company has been able to ignore the human and environmental damage caused by its products and pursue it devastating activities through a systematic concealment strategy through lobbying regulators and government authorities, lying, corruption, commissioning bogus scientific studies, putting pressure on independent scientists, and manipulating the press.

    Our endeavor is based on the observation that only through civic action will we be able to achieve compensation for victims of the American multinational. The procedures are a veritable obstacle course for the victims. They are reluctant to invest time and money in litigation, especially since there is no reason to believe in a positive outcome. Frequently, when a company like Monsanto is the defendant, the company settles out of court, whereby circumventing the establishment of a negative legal precedent.

    General purpose of the Tribunal:

    To get a ruling- even symbolic – against Monsanto by a bench of real judges, after veritable proceedings in an international court, and contribute to the establishment of international mechanisms to bring justice to victims of multinationals.”

    Comment by Pete — October 14, 2016 @ 4:50 pm

    • Hi Pete. Yes, I’ve been following it and wonder, as you do, whether it will issue the warranted verdict or do the self-censoring, self-watering-down thing so common among GMO critics. (Why do people do that? I guess it’s in part a lack of sufficient self-confidence to accept the fact when truth is 100% on one’s side, even when the evidence proves this. And then there’s the misguided crackpot notion that one will look more reasonable if one makes unilateral concessions, even against one’s own evidence. And of course not all these people are even really against poisonism and corporate industrial agriculture. I only wonder if we’ll see any of this here because I’ve seen some rhetoric which seemed to be bending over backward to reassure Monsanto. Now that may be just boilerplate, but it may also indicate that some insiders are already worrying that a conviction on all counts will look “too anti-Monsanto” and are already losing self-confidence. I only have such suspicions because of long experience with these campaigns and communications.)

      On the upside, some of the organizers and witnesses do seem to view this as a preliminary to eventual force-of-law tribunals. It would be even better if people viewed it as a fully legitimate tribunal in the absence of the system’s abdicated “law”, promising to apply the judgement as soon as true law is constituted by the people. Of course the moral legitimacy of the tribunal can be established only by the integrity of its procedure and its self-confidence willing to follow through. (Needless to say I fully convicted Monsanto and its cadres and propagandists ages ago.)

      How’s things at Honeywood? My stuff’s just about wrapped up, some cherry tomatoes and herbs still going.

      Comment by Russ — October 15, 2016 @ 8:41 am

  2. Long, hot, dry grinder of a summer down here. Drought conditions. The heat stifled much of the growth throughout the state but such is farming… you don’t realize how much work the rain does for you until you go long periods without it. Just hoping Hillary and her friends in the military industrial complex don’t launch WWIII at this point.

    Comment by Pete — October 15, 2016 @ 5:13 pm

    • Yup, the rain just like the ecology itself, does almost all the work which we then supplement (or not). That sums up the depravity of Mammon right there, how it pays only the most useless and destructive sliver of what’s a small input in the first place, while at best taking the bulk for granted, and more often actively degrading and destroying it.

      In NJ we did relatively ok with rain, though there’s been a drier spell in later summer.

      Taking their actions at face value (as we always must with those who have the power and freedom to do whatever they want), those people sure seem to want WWIII. Their purely gratuitous Ukraine adventure proves it. There they seem to be riding the red horse even harder than the black.

      Comment by Russ — October 16, 2016 @ 2:39 am

  3. […] among the NGOs which usually claim to support Community Food but which turned around and abetted Monsanto’s “Food Safety Modernization Act.” (FSMA). . 2. From the outset of the pro-marijuana movement there were many who strongly insisted on the […]

    Pingback by The Community Food Sector Must Fight to Survive and Win (Also Some GMO Comments) | Volatility — October 27, 2016 @ 8:36 am

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