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Wednesday, April 12, 2006

So what's in the carton?

Mom is home from the hospital, they still don't know what exactly was wrong with her, but it wasn't a heart attack, and she is feeling better, so I am happy that for the time being she is home and her doctor can continue to try and find the cause. Thanks for all those that sent along kind words.

Now, following up on my hospital rant, I have a new one. I normally try to avoid politics on this blog, after all I have a completely ignored blog, solely for that purpose that I intentionally use to vent and to keep politics out of this one. However, when politics do things to affect our children, and since the Congressinal vote on the matter makes it a bipartisan debacle, I feel it is worth bringing it out where someone may actually read it.

(NOTE: Please feel free to re-appropriate any or all of the remainder of this post to your own blog, or elsewhere. The issue is important enough that I certainly hope I can help start spread the word beyond my 2 or 3 readers).

Alright, by this point, I am sure you want me to get to the point, so let us talk a momment about the, National Uniformity for Food Act. First of all, I must pause a momment (and stray), to give credit to lawmakers that continue to find ways to come up with these names to help make it sound like something you would want, after all, without reading all the legalese, it certainly makes for good politics. This way, anybody that argues or votes AGAINST the measure, can be beaten (verbally), with things like, "Well Senator you were oppossed to a law that mandated National Uniformity of food labeling that makes it easier for consumers..." Brilliant. I must admit though I like Harold Meyerson title "Swallow at Your Own Risk Act". You can see his Washington Post Article here.

But now let us delve a little deeper for a momment shall we? Due to Congress' slow moving ways, many states have enacted their own more stringent laws for food labeling. Forcing companies to divulge information to consumers. Things such as, is that Salmon you are purchasing farm raised (which studies have shown are far less healthy for you), or caught in the wild. Or whether certain products may contain certain types of ingredients (i.e. peanuts which cause deadly allergic reactions in some children).

This law, effectively destroys the work that states have done to help protect consumers. Oh sure, in the law is a provision that allows each state to submit its proposal to the FDA for consideration on the national level, but let us be honest here for a momment. The reason each state has enacted their own laws, is because of the slow movement at the national level, and will prevent the states from enforcing their laws, while this "appeal" process to get their laws considered on a national level. But of course, when you read the letter, that Bob Goodlatte (Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture) and Collin Peterson (Ranking member of the House Committee on Agriculture) wrote in asking for support of this act, you can't help but laugh (well I can't) when you read statements like, "The bill also ensures that states have the opportunity to provide their best, science-based food safety information to consumers in all 50 states in conjunction with the FDA."

An AP story point out that this Sweeping bill could affect hundreds of warnings, including mercury levels. In fact, there are currently over 200 state food safety and public protection laws that are repealed by this act.

Now it is no surprise when you look who is supporting this effort by Congress. Food Industry groups such like the The Grocery Manufacturers Association are so in support of it, they have even gone so far as to have letters "signed" by Manly Molpus president and CEO, writing rebuttal leters like this one to newpapers around the country. The thinly veiled National Uniformity for Food Coalition, is a who's who of giants in the food industry, Kraft Foods, Coca-Cola, H.J. Heinz, General Mills, and plenty of others, of course tries to push this Act as needed because, "...citizens of all 50 states deserve consistent and reliable food safety guidance..."

OK, so now if I have confused you, or you still think that I am just some sort of nut, or unsure this isn't just some tree-huggers wacky far left propoganda, please just go and read the, Myths vs. Truths about H.R. 4167, National Uniformity for Food Act by The Consumers Union Organization.

Then go call you State Senator and tell them to vote against this. While you are at it, contact your Congressional Representative, and tell them how disappointed you are that they voted for a bill that is not in the best interest of you and your child.

There was more to this rant, but I have enough for an entire separate post (and this one is long enough as it is), so I will save that for another day. But this issue must be defeated NOW before business wins another round against consumer safety. You owe it to yourself and your kids.

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