Sunday, November 21, 2010

S 510 not as obnoxious as could have been

The National Health Federation, the nation's oldest health freedom organization (since 1955) reports that although the Senate is poised to pass S 510, a "food safety" bill that had included quite stringent restrictions on vitamins and supplements and organic farming, is somewhat less obnoxious than it might have been. As NHF lobbyist Lee Bechtel reports:

" During the debate, Senator Harkin described some of the key points in the yet-to-be-voted-on Manager's Amendment. Among other changes, the final Manager's Amendment included the exemption for dietary supplements from Codex food guidelines, exemption language for dietary supplement manufacturers and retailers from the conventional food company and distributor registration fees, reporting and product traceability requirements. The final Manager's Amendment also included the Testor-Hagan amendment exempting small farmers and retailers; organic farmers were already exempted from FDA registration fee, reporting, and product traceability requirements, for farms with less than $500,000 in gross receipts. The compromise language was very close to the original Testor amendment, which is why Senators Testor and Hagan both voted in favor of moving the bill forward."

A Senate vote on the bill is now scheduled for Mon., Nov. 29, after the Thanksgiving recess. The NHF is still not pleased with the bill even though it has been amended to be a mite less repressive and hopes that the incoming more-Republican Congress will be inclined to repeal the bill or to amend it further. Unfortunately, one can't always count on Republicans to be freedom-friendly.

Back in the 1990s (I think 1994) a similar ambitious bureaucratic effort to increase federal regulation of supplements engendered a huge grassroots vbout of activism that eventually led to a bill exempting supplements from FDA regulation. But the urge to regulate everything, built into the institution, is strong and will probably not be eased until the FDA is abolished -- which I don't expect but would welcome, if only on the cost-benefit grounds that delaying approval of medications has led to more deaths than have come from approved medications that turned out to have side effects or unapproved medications that possibly would have led to more deaths. In the case of the FDA, overregulation turns out to be more dangerous to peoples' health than underregulation.


Nicolas Martin said...

Thanks for the update on this bill.

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