The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, H.R. 875, is a proposed law that requires anybody selling or storing food and selling it to a third party “to register with a new federal regulatory agency, submit to federal inspections, and, perhaps most significant, keep ‘copious records of sales and shipment by lot and label.’ Its sponsors say it is a result of recent food supply contamination incidents.  Reason takes a look in Fear the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009!

There has been a lot of talk on the net about it, though little information has shown up in legacy media, and Reason tries to sort the wheat from the chaff in The Clandestine War Over the Food Safety Modernization Act

Critics say that the proposed Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (H.R. 875),   introduced in early February by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), will “effectively criminalize organic gardening,” conceivably outlaw “seed banking,” and will serve as part of a concerted Monsanto conspiracy to drive all but corporate agri-business out of the food production racket.

According to the office of Rep. DeLauro, the bill was inspired by a recent wave of contaminated food recalls and is supported by consumer groups both organic and non-organic. The bill should also, if it has the effect of increasing consumer confidence in the food supply promised, be of ultimate benefit to big food production companies whose livelihoods depend on public trust in the food supply.* (Which means that they have every incentive to police themselves, and in the enormous staggering majority of the time they manage to do business without killing or harming their customers.)

…It’s worth noting that the anti-875ers are saying obviously untrue things in their attempt to raise an alarm. One such falsehood is the notion that the bill (still languishing in committee, with no particular sign that it’s actually going to get anywhere this year) is about to pass with no debate. However, 875’s supporters are mostly just asserting that since the bill’s explicit language doesn’t empower the Food Safety Administration (FSA) to undertake specific tasks or impose specific prohibitions, then it’s rank and absurd fearmongering to suggest otherwise.

Not true.  Congress is no stranger to delegating its responsibility to agencies:

But that presumption ignores a long history showing what happens when Congress creates regulatory agencies and delegates broad mandates to them. In this case, the FSA’s mandate would encompass both the responsibility and enforcement power to keep our food supply safe by enforcing rigorous scientific standards on every food production facility, which “means any farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal-feeding operation.” (Sec. 3, 14.) Restaurants and other entities directly serving prepared food to consumers are explicitly not covered. (Sec. 3, 13(b).

Yet as history shows, many strong actions taken by regulatory agencies were never explicitly laid out in the legislation that created them, including the Clean Water Act’s current expansive definition—backed up by court decisions—of “navigable waters;” the Food and Drug Administration’s regulation of cigarettes as “nicotine delivery devices;” and the Endangered Species Act’s reinvention as a widespread, niggling, and extensive land-use regulation.

And the EPA’s impending takeover of the economy, unless Congress gets in line and passes cap and trade legislation soon.  There’s no reason to believe it will be any different in this instance.    It will result in more unelected bureaucrats running more of the economy, a consequence I’m becoming convinced is not unintended.

H/T Instapundit