Lost in the surprising productivity of the lame duck 111th American Congress is the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act that was recently passed by the Senate and should be passed by the House today, 21 December. Sure, food is not as sexy as, well, sexual orientation (repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell), not as amenable to spreadsheet-ing (tax cut extension), or as security-centered as “New Start” (like throwback jersey day for Cold Warriors), but this soon-to-be-law will be as consequential as those more widely-covered issues.
Again, the mystery of “politics makes strange bedfellows”), emerges from the passage of this bill in the Senate. Supporters of the bill include Monsanto, Kraft Foods, Eric Schlosser, and Michael Pollan (if the Supreme Court says corporations are people, who am I not to put them in a compound subject together). Slate’s David Wiegel writes:
Nobody knew why their bosses had let it sail through. The best theory I’ve heard is that key Republicans, having seen the bill pass with supermajority support (73-25), and having become satisfied that there were no back-door nanny provisions in the bill, decided that it wasn’t worth keeping the Senate in session past Christmas to debate it. It’s a Christmas miracle, if the key characteristics of Christmas are self-interest and fatigue.
There’s a lot to learn about the implications of this long-overdue update to our American food management policy. Here’s a video to help you get started.
I haven’t fully digested the senate bill (read it for yourself, all 242 pages), but did check to see if it said anything explicit about transgenic food (it didn’t); but there are provisions in the bill that may be used to manage GMO’s (labeling, science-based emphasis), and I have yet to figure out what the “surge capacity” for food safety mobilization will really mean (will General Patraues’s next assignment be the FDA?).
Summary from GovTrack.
Summary from NPR.
Another summary from an ABC news affiliate in the heartland.