Thursday, January 27, 2011

Update on the Food Safety Modernisation Act

Anyone who visited a few days ago will probably have read the previous post on the Brisbane-based venture Food Connect which supplies local, sustainably produced food in the South East Queensland region. This excellent organisation links producers with the community, bringing greater connection to what's involved in the entire process from farm to table.'

I picked up a lead through this site that took me on a most circuitous journey to find out what was behind the story coming out of the US on Food Safety Legislation. Some may ask why bother knowing what's happening over there ... but in a global landscape the ripple effect does indeed make it smart to take notice of what's occurring elsewhere.... issues travel these days!

The claim circulating was suggesting The Food Safety Modernisation Act of 2009 would eliminate home gardens and put organic farmers out of business.

As I wondered further about this my thinking centred around why something this major had not come to my attention before ... surely if it were true everyone would be up in arms. With the film "Food Inc" coming to mind ... and the track record Transnationals have had in lobbying and pushing for problematic, even disastrous legislation to get through I was left with... surely not.. but maybe!

So I emailed a number of friends and bloggers who either live in the US or whose curiosity about such matters might have meant they would know of this story and consequently set my mind at rest.

Click here if you wish to read about the Food Inc film

What a wonderfully worthwhile call out. Responses filtered back... along with a few from people Id thought of contacting but hadn't got round to who happened to read the post. Some came as comments ... others as emails. I was so pleased to learn that this wasn't anything so sweeping and sinister as rumour would have it. Chinese whispers via social media had successfully resulted in misinformation.

We live with misinformation and distortion of stories on a daily basis. This is one story that needed to be clarified and put in perspective.

The circulating claim:  The Food Safety Modernisation Act of 2009 would eliminate home gardens and put organic farmers out of business obviously struck a lot of people as actually believable in the light of recent history. said the claim was "mostly false" (interesting in itself) and went about outlining their take on the Bill closing with Myths and Facts and then referring readers to the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defence Fund ..... which mentions the possibility this bill would place undue financial and regulatory burdens on smaller farms and businesses that primarily engage in the local production and sale of food items.  (information supplied by Sharmon Davidson)
You can read the summary of the bill here at  and the truly perservering types might like to read the complete bill here supplied by The Artist Within Us.  Thanks to all who contributed thoughts and links to sites worth reading! 

This entire exercise was very telling.

When it comes to Food legislation, safety, food security and the future people are becoming more and more distrustful and skeptical about what they're told...with increasing anxiety over all aspects of food production. Read most of the comments that have come in concerning this story and the signs are there.

Australia has elected to celebrate in 2012 the National Year of the Farmer and the objectives are;
  • Establish closer ties between Australia's rural and urban communities.
  • Celebrate the broad range and fine quality of the produce our farmers grow and harvest.
  • Share how Australia is leading the world in farming techniques and innovation.
  • Highlight the essential role of Australian agriculture to the maintenance of national and global food security.
  • Promote the role our farmers play as environmental managers, creating and delivering sustainability through best practice management.
  • Recognise farmers for feeding the nation and sustaining our vital agribusinesses.
  • Communicate to all Australians the importance of farming and rural communities to our national economy and social fabric.
  • Encourage Australians to reflect on the origins of the food they consume and the fibre they use every day and perpetuate the call to buy Australian produce.
  • Focus on -- and prepare for -- the future of farming in Australia by creating awareness of career opportunities in agriculture and related areas.

There's a sense of urgency to this plan. I dont know when it was devised and how it gained momentum... but its clear that there is a need to massively overhaul the position we place our farmers in in the scheme of things.

an image of the contemporary industrialised food scenario


Elaine said...

Hi, Sophie! I found you on Twitter and just sent you some Tweets I got earlier. I haven't even had a chance to thoroughly read the links, but the news is so upsetting re: GMO, Monsanto and alfalfa. Tweet me back so I know you got them.

Sophie Munns said...

Thanks you Elaine... I will go check now!

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