A once dormant bill to criminalize natural food and supplement producers is back in action. Attaching a prison sentence of up to 10 years is pretty serious for a possible ambiguous crime of adulteration and misbranding. Senator Patrick Leahy introduced this bill last year as S.3767, The Food Safety Accountability Act. Although amended, it is still too vague and ultimately considered a bad bill, even by the folks who effected its amendment.
Before we could report on the bill’s resurrection, it passed the Senate. In summary, it “Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to impose an additional fine and/or a prison term of up to 10 years for knowingly violating prohibitions of such Act against adulteration or misbranding of any food, drug, device, tobacco product, or cosmetic, or against the introduction in interstate commerce of unsafe dietary supplements, with conscious or reckless disregard of a risk of death or serious bodily injury.” See how wide open that is?
On a side note, the senator is also unpopular for introducing an Internet censorship bill at the same time. S.3084 called “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” (COICA), it would blacklist and terminate certain websites if passed into law.
Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) has made it very easy to contact House Representatives and take action. Read more about recent bill action and follow the “Click THIS LINK” hyperlink to go to an action alert page where you can fill out a form. You can customize a letter to the House of Representatives and ANH even has a suggested message for help.
Leahy Bill Passes in Senate—Help Us Stop It in the House!
Last week we reported on the botched language in the new Leahy bill, and how it was on a fast track. Last Thursday, unfortunately, the Senate passed the bill. But there’s still time to get the House of Representatives to listen to us! Take action now to ensure the House doesn’t introduce and pass a similar bill!
The Senate’s Food Safety Accountability Act of 2011 contains language that is open to interpretation. While intended to protect the public from food manufacturers who would harm the public with their negligence, the vague language may also be used by the FDA to attack innocent natural health food and dietary supplement producers.
A bill must, of course, be passed in both the Senate and the House, and often their versions of the same basic bill may be quite different from one another. This bill has not yet been introduced in the House, so we need to seize the opportunity and contact our representatives to tell them what needs to be fixed in the bill’s language before it is introduced, or else oppose the bill altogether. The fact that it passed in the Senate so easily shows just how much education is needed on this issue on Capitol Hill.
A House version of the The Food Safety Accountability Act of 2011 must address the vagueness in the language and carve out certain exemptions in the definition of misbranding and adulteration—or better yet, define them anew instead of referring to the extremely broad Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
We would prefer, of course, that a similar bill is not introduced in the House at all, because we can’t be certain that even a much better House bill won’t be amended by the Senate during the conference process. Please contact your representative immediately and ask him or her to fight this bill’s introduction, or work to ensure that its language doesn’t target the wrong people!
For more on the substance of the Senate bill, please see this.
Take action now!
TO SEND YOUR MESSAGE TO CONGRESS
Click THIS LINK to go to the Action Alert page. Once there, fill out the form with your name and address, etc., and customize your letter. We have a suggested message for you, but please feel free to add your own comments to the letter.
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