Section 210 of HR 875 requires that a national traceability system for each “article of food through all stages of its production, processing, and distribution” be implemented, and HR 814 lays the system out in no uncertain terms. This traceability system applies to livestock, chickens, and eggs, and is supposed to safeguard our food supply. The problem is, no one other than concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) can reasonably comply with its requirements.Â
Here is the actual wording from HR 814:Â
SEC. 2. TRACEABILITY OF FOOD.
The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 301 et seq.) is amended–
(1) in section 301, by inserting at the end the following:
‘(oo) The failure to comply with any requirement of section 414A (relating to the traceability of food).’; and
(2) in chapter IV, by inserting after section 414 the following:
SEC. 414A. TRACEABILITY OF FOOD.
(a) Establishment of System- Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this section, the Secretary shall establish a traceability system described in subsection (b) for all stages of manufacturing, processing, packaging, and distribution of food.
(b) Description of System- The traceability system required by subsection (a) shall require each article of food shipped in interstate commerce to be identified in a manner that enables the Secretary to retrieve the history, use, and location of the article through a recordkeeping and audit system or registered identification.
(1) IN GENERAL- The Secretary may require that each person, firm, and corporation required to identify an article of food pursuant to subsection (b) maintain accurate records, as prescribed by the Secretary, regarding the purchase, sale, and identification of the article.
(2) ACCESS- Each person, firm, and corporation described in paragraph (1) shall, at all reasonable times, on notice by a duly authorized representative of the Secretary, allow the representative to access to each place of business of the person, firm, or corporation to examine and copy the records described in paragraph (1).
(3) DURATION- Each person, firm, and corporation described in paragraph (1) shall maintain records required to be maintained under this subsection for such period of time as the Secretary prescribes.Â
(d) False Information- No person, firm, or corporation shall falsify or misrepresent to any other person, firm, or corporation, or to the Secretary, any information as to any location at which any article of food was held.
(e) Alteration or Destruction of Records- No person, firm, or corporation shall, without authorization from the Secretary, alter, detach, or destroy any records or other means of identification prescribed by the Secretary for use in determining the location at which any article of food was held.Â
This bill applies to all livestock, meat, and meat products, which include “cattle, sheep, swine, goats, and horses, mules, and other equines presented for slaughter for human food purposes,” poultry, and “each egg or egg product.”Â
Let’s go through the sections to determine just what the implications are.Â
Section 414 (a): This requires the establishment of a traceability system within one year of enactment of the bill for all stages of manufacturing, processing, packaging, and distribution of food.Â
All stages means from birth to distribution. In other words, each and every item that ultimately ends up on the table, no matter where it came from, if any of the ingredients contain animal origins, those origins must be traceable to inception. If you have a pet sheep, sell it to someone, and that person takes that sheep to the slaughterhouse, that sheep must be traced to inception. You must comply with the tracebility system even though you are not a commercial supplier, and have no intentions of ever being one because your animal might end up as an ingredient in a food product somewhere down the line.Â
Section 414 (b): This requires that each article of food shipped in interstate commerce to be identified in a manner that enables the Secretary to retrieve the history, use, and location of the article through a recordkeeping and audit system or registered identification.
Recordkeeping on the history, use, and location of the article of food means that from birth to death, an identification system must be put into place to trace each animal’s or egg’s whereabouts at any given time in its lifespan until it ends up on your plate, even if you are an individual with livestock as pets, since these pets are potential food sources that could at some point end up in the food supply.
If your chicken crosses the road, it must be monitored, tracked, and reported. If you lose a chick, that must be monitored, tracked, and recorded. If you break an egg, that must be monitored, tracked, and recorded. Get the picture? This section cannot be reasonably complied with unless you are a CAFO.
Section 414 (c): This requires maintenance of the record-keeping system mentioned in (b) that keeps track of the purchase, sale, and identification of the article (animal or egg).
These records must be available upon notice to the duly authorized representative of the Secretary at all “reasonable times” for examination. The records must also be kept for an indeterminate period of time. In other words, you receive a notice during business hours that an inspection of your records is required, and you must allow access if the Secretary’s representative deems it a reasonable time.
Section 414 (d):Â This is truly frightening. If you supply false information to anyone, intentionally or not, regarding the location that any “article of food” was held, at any point in time from birth to death, you are guilty of violating this section.
Think about it. If you have chickens and they free-range, how can you possibly supply the location of each and every chick every moment of the day? You cannot. If they are in a concentrated animal feeding operation, then you can. Remember, “article of food” means your animal or egg from inception to the time it ends up on someone’s plate.
Section 414 (e): This addresses destruction of records. No person, firm, or corporation shall, without authorization from the Secretary, alter, detach, or destroy any records or other means of identification prescribed by the Secretary for use in determining the location at which any article of food was held.Â
Remember, the records are to be kept for an indeterminate period of time. If you lose even one record on the location of one egg since that egg was laid, even if you do not sell eggs, this results in the Secretary not being able to determine the location of that egg at any given moment. If a cow loses an eartag, that is destruction of a means of identification. If you need to replace an eartag, you must get permission from the Secretary. This section cannot be reasonably complied with either.Â
As all of our attention is directed to HR 875, with good reason, it still remains imperative that we do not neglect the other bills such as HR 814, that might just slip by us in our zeal to expose and stop the global takeover of our food supply by multinationals.Â
The establishment of a traceability system that cannot be complied with by any operations other than CAFOs, and extends to individual animal ownership by people who simply have pets, means that we will not have any other choice in what goes on our plates other than those given to us by large multinationals that pollute the environment, torture animals from birth to death, then serve them up on a plate filled with hormones, antibiotics, and disease. It also means that individuals will no longer have the choice of owning animals without complying with onerous regulations that make the ownership and use of those animals impossible to comply with.Â
This bill puts into place what its proponents say it is trying to solve, and robs us of our individual liberties. Read it, understand the implications, then get mad. Add this bill to your list along with HR 875, and start yelling about it. It must not be passed, and it is up to us to make our voices heard.Â
Read the full bill HR 814 here: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h814/text
Barbara H. Peterson