There is a little bit of panic circulating on the internet over the last few days about a bill which is in the early stages of working through Congress (it’s been referred to two House committees). It’s a food safety bill, but the message being circulated claims in all-caps that it will “OUTLAW ORGANIC FARMING,” and links to videos that claim the video will also outlaw home gardens, heirloom seeds, and basically any growing of food that doesn’t involve toxic chemicals.
Here is a slightly more articulate statement of the accusations against the bill, HR 875. Note the use of the term “food police” in the title. Is this a tip-off that this is at best knee-jerk conspiracy theory paranoia, at worst astroturfing by the industry that may be financially hurt by the regulation? I read the sections the article suggests reading, and the bill seems in fact to go out of its way to exclude any place where food is prepared for the purpose of being served. The following is from section 13.B of the definitions section of the bill; it modifies what the term “food establishment” means in the text of the bill:
EXCLUSIONS– For the purposes of registration, the term ‘food establishment’ does not include a food production facility as defined in paragraph (14), restaurant, other retail food establishment, nonprofit food establishment in which food is prepared for or served directly to the consumer
Here’s the full text of HR 875, go look for yourself and if I’m wrong point me to what I’m missing.
Here’s the video that most of the links seem to point back to as their source. Wow! It opens with the an Orwelian quote from a science-fiction movie, cuts to a guy in a baseball cap who claims that the bill “nationalizes the food industry.” Give me a break. He then goes on to give us his reading of the bill, which you can go see for yourself if you’re so inclined.
We already have a “food police.” That’s right, the government has people that inspect food production facilities to make sure they’re operating in a way the government considers safe. Does this seem like a bad idea?
Update: Snopes has finally tagged this: Mostly False.