It’s the Food, Stupid
By Michael Kleen
April 3, 2009
Lost Liberty Cafe
Rock River Times
“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” Benjamin Franklin wrote to Jean-Baptiste Leroy over 200 years ago, and, echoing those sentiments in 1992, Clinton campaign strategist James Carville argued, “It’s the economy, stupid.” But these two finance-centered men failed to realize that one thing is even more central to our existence than money: food.
Americans have long ignored the issue of food, because there has been such an abundance of it on our continent. But while a variety of foodstuffs has become increasingly available, the quality has decreased. This decrease in quality is directly related to the decreasing variety of food sources, the centralization of which has seriously endangered our health. As society benefits from the elimination of bureaucracy and the trimming of government, so would we benefit from the diversification of our food sources.
When I was attending public school in the 1990s, our options in the cafeteria were very limited. Usually we could chose between some mystery meat and a slice of spongy, rectangular pizza. When I recently returned to public school as a substitute teacher, I was surprised to see that, in addition to the mystery meat, very poor quality burgers and fries had been added to the menu. I would have jumped for joy if this was available when I was in school, but now that I’m an adult, it seems like a very poor choice.
It’s bad enough that our children are forced into a government controlled school system that fills their heads with garbage, but do they have to fill their stomachs with garbage as well? But this is your government in action. Instead of providing our children with nutritious foods culled from local farms and growers, public school administrators have cut deals with corporations who ship their fecal-contaminated burgers from factory complexes located thousands of miles away. If your children get sick, oh well, you can talk to their lawyers.
Now, Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn) has introduced H.R. 875, the “Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009,” which would empower the Federal government to regulate all food production in the United States, whether large or small. Not surprisingly, DeLauro’s husband’s consulting firm works with Monsanto, one of the aforementioned agriculture monoliths with a near monopoly on genetically engineered crops.
According to the text of the bill, “food establishments” would be required to submit to inspection at least annually, if not more. If any violations are discovered, Federal agents would have the authority to “detain, seize, or condemn food from the food establishment” or “take other appropriate enforcement action concerning the food establishment, including withdrawal of registration.” Agents of the proposed Food Safety Administration would also have unfettered access to all records held by the food suppliers.
Imagine if you and your family owns and operates a small orchard that sells apples and apple related products. By all accounts, your product is safe. Aside from the occasional insect, which will happen now and then without pesticides, no one has ever had reason to complain. If the Federal Government has its way, your orchard will have to submit to on the spot inspections whether you have been accused of any wrongdoing or not. If that inspector finds an insect, or perhaps any blemish at all in your product, you could face fines of several thousand dollars or even property seizure. A local orchard, organic or otherwise, would never be able to fight these charges, while a national corporation, with its team of lawyers and lobbyists in the government, would have no problem dodging the regulations.
This assault on locally grown food is also an assault on our very wellbeing. Although the legislation, like all legislation that comes out of Washington, is worded to make you believe that it will protect you, what it is really doing is ensuring that those carcinogen-laced French fries continue to fill your child’s stomach in his or her public school cafeteria.
I have nothing against an adult choosing to eat those products, or choosing to eat out at fast food restaurants with their children. The problem comes when government and corporations collude to restrict our diets in ways that are ultimately harmful to our health. When we are forced to buy contaminated tomatoes from Mexico, and can no longer go to our local garden or farmer’s market, something is seriously amiss. Increasing our food choices when it comes to the food producers means increasing our ability to eat healthy, and that, in turn, is good for our economy. It’s the food, stupid.