Congressman Collin Peterson, Chairman
House Committee on Agriculture
1301 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Subject: An Open Letter and Petition to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson
Dear Congressman Peterson:
Your committee is currently reviewing H.R. 875, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009. We, the undersigned, are members of America’s agricultural community and friends of farmers, hunters, gardeners, and all those who work to feed our country and its people. We believe that H.R. 875 is a bad bill which would make a worse law, and we urge you to reject this bill and the many errors about the direction of American agricultural policy it embodies.
- This bill places the food-producing activities of ordinary American families under the control of an ill-defined and expensive bureaucracy – a bureaucracy which ignores the century-plus history of the FDA as the primary regulator of America’s food safety on the national level in favor of creating “czars” and working groups under the direct control of the White House.
- This bill places intolerable burdens on small organic farms and alternative agricultural producers, requiring them to do business under the very methodology that many of them were founded to avoid. We agree that nobody should be permitted to market unsafe or dangerous foods, but this bill goes much too far in attempting to standardize and regulate the production of food by small operators. America has a long and proud tradition of innovation and experimentation in the production of food – a tradition which has led our country to its current position as the most food-secure nation on Earth. This bill would discard that proud tradition in favor of bureaucracy and government control.
- This bill creates regulatory and administrative hurdles that seem specifically designed to choke the economic life out of small producers in favor of the major corporations which can better afford to adapt expensive regulatory regimes. Again, we agree that regulation and oversight are important tools for the government to use in ensuring that America’s food supply is safe- but we do not believe that these tools must be deployed in a one-size-fits-all solution that ignores the wide diversity of American agricultural production.
All Americans agree that food safety is a vital issue for our country, and we applaud you and your committee’s tireless work to ensure that America’s food supply remains safe and secure. However, H.R. 875 does not advance that goal – it harms it, by placing far too much power in the hands of unelected officials, and removing responsibility from the farmers who have fed this country, and the world, for more than two centuries. We urge you in the strongest possible terms to reject this bill and prevent the destruction and disruption that it would create in our nation’s most critical economic sector.