The Senate Judiciary Committee considered S.3767 in its Executive Business Meeting today.
While Senator Leahy continues to push his bill through the Judiciary Committee (of which he is the Chair) the Senate leadership had to acknowledge wide-spread public opposition to criminalizing food distribution. The Committee's web site states the following action on the bill:
"S.3767, Food Safety Accountability Act (Leahy, Klobuchar, Franken, Durbin, Feinstein) Ordered Reported By Unanimous Consent. "S.3767, Food Safety Accountability Act (Leahy, Klobuchar, Franken, Durbin, Feinstein) - Ordered Reported By Unanimous Consent. Substitute Amendment HEN10891 (Leahy)"
Leahy's substitute amendment adds the following words to the definition of the crime.:
"...and with conscious or reckless disregard of a risk of death or serious bodily injury..."
Thus, what would have criminalized any distribution of food where FDA, FTC or other govt agency later decided some rule, regulation, guideline or standard had not been met to the satisfaction of the bureaucracy, the added language at least references more traditional standards of criminal liability.
While this is a partial victory for the forces of Food Freedom, we must redouble our efforts and defeat S.3767 and S.510 just like we defeated S.3002... with massive Push Back!
We've amended our Action Item to take this into account. Earlier today, more than thirty email messages a minute were being sent to Senators and other involved decision makers... so our voices are being heard!
So, what do we want?
Maybe, if Congress wants to criminalize distributing things that are harmful to the public... maybe it should criminalize "knowingly" introducing dangerous drugs (including vaccines) into commerce! But, then, there might be a lot of drug company executives and maybe even some FDA officials who would face criminal charges...
Certainly, we need to continue to oppose S.3767, the bill that could criminalize commercial speech about food (or at least food distributed in interstate commerce) whenever FDA or FTC decides subsequently that the claims about the food were not substantiated to the liking of some bureaucrat.
The "serious" harm amendment (HEN10891) added by the Judiciary Committee on September 23, 2010 is not sufficient to protect food distributors from bureaucratic harassment.
We the People need protection against over-zealous regulators who will destroy small producers while big companies can afford the legal talent needed to escape penalties.
On Thursday, September 23rd the Senate Judiciary Committee considered this bill, which was only introduced a few days before. This bill should not be rushed through the Senate at this late point in the session.
It would make a major change to criminal law and might be amended to include the language of discredited "food safety" [sic[ bills, such as S.510 or S.3002.
Such changes should be debated, considered and decided by the new Congress about to be elected.
This bill and all fake "food safety" bills that will attack our Food Freedom should be tabled and not adopted by the Senate.
Instead, our communities need to be protected by law from Federal Government interference in local and natural food production and distribution. We need a Food Freedom Amendment, such as we proposed last year when the House was considering its version of S.510 and which we have continued to urge:
Food Freedom Amendment
"No provision of Federal Law giving regulatory oversight to any Federal department or agency shall be deemed to apply (a) to any home, home-business, homestead, home or community gardens, small farm, organic or natural agricultural activity, (b) to any family farm or ranch, or (c) to any natural or organic food product, including dietary supplements, as protected under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994.”
Food Freedom is part of the Liberty that all free people have a right to expect. Legislators ought to protect that freedom from the bureaucracy they foist on us. Local oversight of local food production would be far superior to big govt poking into all our local activities. Reducing central govt power would enhance the overall health of our society.