Subject: Do you believe our government should protect our food supply? If you do, read further…

Protecting our food supply consists of methods of inspection and testing not only what we grow and slaughter and ship from state to state, here at home, it’s also about inspecting and testing the food we import from other countries as well.

There are two federal agencies that are primarily responsible for Food Safety in the US and for the food that is imported into the US.  That is the USDA, Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In January the US food safety laws were amended to improve the prevention of foodborne illness.  The new law would allow the FDA to conduct more inspections of domestic and foreign food producers, and work more closely with the USDA and state inspection agencies.   The new act was to add 1800 new food safety inspectors.

The USDA has inspectors in meat and poultry slaughter plants and processed egg facilities.  These are the inspectors (veterinarians) who examine the animals to make sure diseased animals do not get put in the food supply and check for salmonella in processed products.

On the 16th of June, the House Appropriations passed legislation by a 217-203 vote that would eliminate the necessary funds for the FDA to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act. And cut funding for the already under funded Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) so they would have to start firing food safety inspectors.

We all remember the baby formula scandal of product from China along with the imported pet food safety issues.   There is a serious outbreak of e-coli in Germany right now.  This could have been us, but for our food safety system that is currently in place.

The Chairman of the Appropriations House Subcommittee, Jack Kingston (R-GA) said, “The food supply in America is very safe because the private sector self-polices, because they have the highest motivation.  They don’t want to be sued, they don’t want to go broke. They want their customers to be healthy and happy.”

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 28,000 Americans are hospitalized every year and 3,000 die every year from tainted food.
Even the Grocery Manufacturers of America are in support of doubling the FDA’s food safety budget, in light of the recent food scandals.
Rep. Kingston also claims the high level of food safety is due to the private sector without the “nanny” state.  “That’s the private sector working,” he’s quoted as saying.

In reality, do you want to risk your life and the lives of your families on Rep. Kingston’s fantasy?  We saw the result of   de-regulation and lack of oversight in the financial sector, as we watched homes being foreclosed and savings and pension plans evaporating

If you want the FDA and the Food Safety Inspection Service at USDA fully funded, please write your Senators and let them know they need to put the funding back to provide us with safe food oversight. http://www.senate.gov/

If you want to contact your Representatives and thank those that voted against this bill, and chastise those that supported it, here is the list:  http://www.house.gov/representatives/
All Democrats voted against the legislation
The following Republican Representatives voted against the legislation as well:
Rep. Justin Amash (Michigan)
Rep. Michele Bachman (Minnesota)
Rep. Joe Barton (Texas)
Rep. Paul Broun (Georgia)
Rep. John Campbell (California)
Rep. John Duncan (Tennessee)
Rep. Stephen Fincher (Tennessee)
Rep. Jeff Flake (Arizona)
Rep. Trent Franks (Arizona
Rep. Morgan Griffith (Virginia)
Rep. Walter Jones (North Carolina)
Rep. Steve King (Iowa)
Rep. Tom McClintock (California)
Rep. Jeff Miller (Florida)
Rep. Kristi Noem (South Dakota)
Rep. Ron Paul (Texas)
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (California
Rep. ave Schweikert (Arizona)

Legislation Information:
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012
Rep Kingston, Jack [GA-1] (introduced 6/3/2011)
House Report #: 112-101
Passed the House of Representatives on 6/16/11 by a vote of 317 – 203
6/16/2011 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Appropriations

7 Comments on “Subject: Do you believe our government should protect our food supply? If you do, read further…

  1. I was delighted to see Ron Paul on the list for voting against this horrible bill. Ron Paul is a man of courage and conviction. Ron Paul for President in 2012!

    Jack Kingston of the state of GA., make me ashamed to be a Republican.

  2. Where does Certified Humane stand on Federal Inspection of domestic horse slaughtering plants? While horse slaughter is illegal in this country, I am curious as to your stance on this issue. Thank you.

  3. The mission of our program is to improve the lives of farm animals in food production. Americans don’t eat horses and horses are not raised for food in our country. That is our stance on this issue.

  4. Do you realize that federal inspections by the Department of Agriculture for horse slaughtering plants within the US must be voted on with the appropriations bill? In other words, if enough people vote TO fund Ag Dept inspections of horse slaughtering plants and are successful in funding the appropriations thereof, it will be easy for horse slaughtering plants to return to production in the United States.

    I too feel horses are not raised for food in this country, and that Americans don’t eat horses. Those are the facts. However, when I saw this post your readership to fund the above inspections, I was wondering how urging passage of the above legislation might endanger the ‘unfunded’ status (hopefully forever) of federal inspections for horse slaughtering plants. Do you have any insight on this? Thanks. Have you ever urged your readerhip to speak out AGAINST the federal funding of agricultural inspections of horse slaughtering plants?

  5. With regard to Janet Ferguson’s comments re horse slaughter in the US and certified humanes’ position on this subject, you are both correct in that horses are not raised for food and Americans don’t eat horses. However, to assume that this means American horses are not slaughtered is naive. They are. By the hundreds of thousands each year. And they are currently transported across the US in the most inhumane manner (on double decker trailers designed to transport cattle) to border holding areas where they are off-loaded and reloaded onto single deck trailers at which point they are transported to plants in Mexico and in Canada (much to my shame as a Canadian). I cannot speak for Mexico (which is where the greatest number of American horses are slaughtered) but in Canada we don’t raise horses for food, and contrary to some current reports I have read, we don’t eat them either (a few restaurants and butcher shops in Quebec and Toronto don’t count in a country of this size and population). As an Animal Scientist and a Canadian livestock (beef) producer, I applaud your organization and the work you do to improve the lives of farm animals. I also agree that continued government oversight and inspection of food production are needed (in this country too) and thus support those who are fighting this bill. Ultimately, I wish that horse slaughter did not occur at all. Until such time, however, I would wish that more could be done from within the US to improve handling and transport conditions for American horses bound for feedlots, holding areas and ultimately to slaughter. I would hope that there is some way to modify the legislation (forgive me if that’s not the right term) so that if funding for increased inspections is approved, that this does not translate into funding for federal inspection of horse slaughter plants.

  6. Certified Humane is a certification and labeling organization for products from animals raised humanely, and it is a birth through slaughter program, we inspect slaughter plants where livestock and poultry are killed to make sure they meet the AMI Guidelines for livestock and our guidelines for poultry. I want to be clear about this. The reason I said what did was that we don’t eat horses int he US and therefore they are outside the scope of this program. This blogsite is a waste of your time to discuss this issue since I have no information that will be relevant for you or other readers that will answer any of your questions. There are other organizations that are involved in this issue, such as the ASPCA and the HSUS. The person who wrote earlier asked what our stand on inspection of horse slaughter facilities was. My response should have answered that question, I was not assuming that horses aren’t killed for slaughter for food, I was responding by saying we had no horse meat standards or slaughter standards on our program, nor would we. I am sorry that you misunderstood my reply.
    Personally I worked on this issue for years. It is currently illegal to slaughter horses in the US, there are no legal slaughter plants. Horses have to go long distances to Canada and Mexico where they are subjected to the regulations of Canada or Mexico for horse slaughter. Those horses are no longer able to be killed in slaughter plants in the US where there was some control over how that was done. Since these slaughter plants are not in the US and the meat from those horses is not imported back into the US for food but exported to Europe and other countries, the US has no control over what happens in those slaughter plants. Those in the US that want to see some regulation need to contact their legislators or ASPCA or HSUS and let them know what it is they want. There is not anything we at Humane Farm Animal Care can do about this situation.

  7. Janet, all the horse slaughter plants in the US have closed. There is no horse slaughter taking place in the US… see my comments above to Sarah. The USDA appropriations bill that I talked about was cutting appropriations for USDA inspectors at slaughter plants. Slaughter plants are privately owned and the USDA pays the inspectors to be at these slaughter plants to do the health and safety inspections of the animals (pre slaughter and post slaughter). Putting the funding back in the legislation would give jobs back to the inspectors who will be fired from the slaughter plants that are open and who will now not have enough inspectors to determine if the meat going into the supply has cancer and other diseases. None of that money can ever be used to open horse slaughter plants or any other slaughter plants. I have never in the past discussed any legislation before in my blog and after this, doubtful that I will. I was just outraged that funding for inspectors that inspect our food supply, like the food coming in from China (FDA) and the USDA inspectors at livestock slaughter plants was cut because the head of that committee believed that corporations would be better to provide oversight, these corporations that stand to make a profit for every animal that goes through the line. I thought people should know and that is why I did it.