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What if federal and state food licensing regulations no longer applied? Would more people get sick from food-borne illnesses? Would more people get healthier by eating fresher food? Would small farms and home-based businesses proliferate and profit? Should nonprofits ever support using local ordinances to challenge broader regulations that impede mission progress?
The roughly 1,000 residents of Sedgwick, a mid-coastal Maine town, are about to find out. At last month’s town meeting, Sedgwick residents voted unanimously to exempt direct farm and home-kitchen processed foods from state and federal licensing and inspection. With passing of the “Local Food and Self-Governance Ordinance,” Sedgwick became the first town in Maine, to take on local regulation (or deregulation) of local food supply as a constitutional right.
Applying to products for home consumption and community events, the four page ordinance states that “we . . . have the right to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local foods thus promoting self-reliance, the preservation of family farms, and local food traditions . . . We hold that federal and state regulations impede local food production and constitute a usurpation of our citizens’ right to foods of their choice.”
The ordinance has been billed in the language of home rule, rural economic opportunity and public health, as well as constitutional rights. According to Bob St. Peter, a local farmer and advocate for the ordinance, it “creates favorable conditions for beginning farmers and cottage scale food processors to try out new products, and to make the most of each season’s bounty.”
The precedent-setting initiative has drawn an interesting mix of supporters to the table, including libertarians, rural developers, off-the-gridders, and sustainable agriculture advocates. Two other Maine towns have since followed in approving similar ordinances. It has not yet been challenged in court.
From a policy perspective, it’s interesting strategy to use a local ordinance to address regulatory barriers for local action. However, local efforts to override state and federal policies can cut like a two edged sword, undermining locally unpopular but nationally vetted goals
SEC. 404. COMPLIANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS.
Nothing in this Act (or an amendment made by this Act) shall be construed in a manner inconsistent with the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization or any other treaty or international agreement to which the United States is a party.
The harmonization of laws, regulations and standards between and among trading partners requires intense, complex, time-consuming negotiations by CFSAN officials. Harmonization must simultaneously facilitate international trade and promote mutual understanding, while protecting national interests and establish a basis to resolve food issues on sound scientific evidence in an objective atmosphere. Failure to reach a consistent, harmonized set of laws, regulations and standards within the freetrade agreements and the World Trade Organization Agreements can result in considerable economic repercussions.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the Portland-based company recalled the food because it may be "adulterated" due to inadequate inspection, verification and documentation of processing activities.
Stan Painter, chairman of the USDA Meat Inspectors Union fears legal action and serious public disfavor for his 600,000 member inspection confederation. All of the major US recalls that have forced business truncation contracted with USDA to assure safe food processing. As more and more food processing under USDA enforcement fails the basic safety inspection standards, Painter has not issued a statement concerning the increased appearance of negligence.
After 94 recalls of USDA inspected product in just over a year the once trusted USDA Union Meat Inspection process has proven not to be a safety net for business owners, but a historical process required by federal law that is riddled with flawed procedures.
Ninety-four meat recalls just this year and the government is cracking down on the little guy?
Just wanted to clarify what was meant by 16 pounds.
He was ignored despite over 16 pounds of non-compliance reports by his inspectors that were never acted upon.
....The FTCLDF lawsuit claims that the federal regulations (21 CFR 1240.61 and 21 CFR 131.110) banning raw milk for human consumption in interstate commerce are unconstitutional and outside of FDA's statutory authority....
FDA's Views on Freedom of Choice
Here are some of FDA's views expressed in its response on 'freedom of food choice' in general and on the right to obtain and consume raw milk in particular:
* "Plaintiffs' assertion of a new 'fundamental right' to produce, obtain, and consume unpasteurized milk lacks any support in law." [p. 4]
* "It is within HHS's authority . . . to institute an intrastate ban [on unpasteurized milk] as well." [p. 6]
* "Plaintiffs' assertion of a new 'fundamental right' under substantive due process to produce, obtain, and consume unpasteurized milk lacks any support in law." [p.17]
* "There is no absolute right to consume or feed children any particular food." [p. 25]
* "There is no 'deeply rooted' historical tradition of unfettered access to foods of all kinds." [p. 26]
* "Plaintiffs' assertion of a 'fundamental right to their own bodily and physical health, which includes what foods they do and do not choose to consume for themselves and their families' is similarly unavailing because plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish." [p. 26]
* FDA's brief goes on to state that "even if such a right did exist, it would not render FDA's regulations unconstitutional because prohibiting the interstate sale and distribution of unpasteurized milk promotes bodily and physical health." [p. 27]
* "There is no fundamental right to freedom of contract." [p. 27]
The Fight for Food Freedom
Growing numbers of people in this country are obtaining the foods of their choice through private contractual arrangements such as buyers' club agreements and herdshare contracts. FDA's position is that the agency can interfere with these agreements because, in FDA's view, there is no fundamental right to enter into a private contract to obtain the foods of choice from the source of choice. As for the agency's contention that there is no fundamental right to obtain any food, including raw milk, here is what the 'substantive due process' clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides: no person shall "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." Obtaining the foods of your choice is so basic to life, liberty and property that it is inconceivable that the 'right of food choice' would not be protected under the Constitution but FDA is saying "No".
Originally posted by macman
Star and thread. Great find.
Nice to see people standing up to the Fed Govt's crap.
Good luck to them.