Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Immediate Action Needed --The NAIS and School Lunches

You may have read about this already. I just received this in my email inbox from the Weston A. Price Foundation -- (I've put certain sections in bold print)

ACTION ALERT: Mandatory Requirement for NAIS in School Lunch Program Put in House Agriculture Appropriations Bill. CALL NOW!

The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee has included pro-NAIS provisions in the Agriculture Appropriations bill for 2009. According to the press release, the bill would require USDA to purchase meat products for the School Lunch Program from livestock premises registered with National Animal Identification System beginning in July 2009.

This is a back-door method for mandating NAIS through the power of the purse strings. The bill also provides a total NAIS funding level of $14.5 million or about $4.8 million above 2008.

We must stop these provisions from going any further! The full House Appropriations Committee will meet about the Agriculture Appropriations bill this Thursday, June 26. Sometime after that, it will go to the full House.

We also need to contact our Senators now, to keep them from doing the same thing.

TAKE ACTION NOW:

1) Call or fax your US Representative.
You can look up who represents you at www.congress.org or call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 or toll-free at 866-340-9281.2)

2.) Call or fax the members of the House Appropriations Committee who come from your State. The members are listed at: http://appropriations.house.gov/members110th.shtml When you see a member who comes from your state, click on his or her name to get contact information.

3) Call or fax your Senators. You can look up who represents you at www.congress.org or call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 or toll-free at 866-340-9281.


With each person, ask to speak to the staffer who handles appropriations. If you get their voice mail, leave the following message, or something in your own words that makes the same points:

MESSAGE: My name is ____. I am a constituent [or live in your state, if you aren't in their district].
I am calling because the Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee has inserted language requiring the School Lunch Program to only buy meat from farms registered in the National Animal Identification System.
I am against NAIS, and I do not want it to be tied to school lunch programs.
NAIS, which tracks live animals, will not improve food safety because most food safety problems start at the slaughterhouse and food processing facilities.
Funding for NAIS, particularly any mandatory NAIS, needs to be stopped.
Please call me back at _____ to let me know where the Congressman/woman stands on this issue.


When you talk to the staffer, be sure to make the same points as in the message, and expand on them with some of the talking points below. For more information, contact the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance at info@farmandranchfreedom.org or 866-687-6452.The press release, from Chairwoman DeLauro (D-CT) is available at http://appropriations.house.gov/pdf/DeLauroSubMarkup06-19-08.pdf

MORE TALKING POINTS - state your concerns in your own words

* This bill uses the government's power to economically coerce farmers into NAIS. That is not a "voluntary" program.

* This bill throws good money after bad, supporting a program that is not sound economically or scientifically.

* USDA has presented no science to back up its claims that NAIS will address livestock diseases.

* The USDA has never completed a cost/benefit analysis to show that NAIS is worthwhile.

* NAIS will not improve food safety. The massive Hallmark/Westland beef recall this past year was caused by the slaughterhouse employees' failure to follow existing regulations for handling "downer" cows. Mandating NAIS on cattle producers will not make anybody obey the laws we already have.

* NAIS will not help Americans compete in the world market. If it is mandatory, or even adopted by most producers, those who participate will not get premiums for their meat.

* Pouring more money into the program is a waste of precious tax dollars that could be better spent on safety inspections at packing and processing plants, where most food contamination occurs.

* Using the school lunch program to force farmers into NAIS undermines the growing farm-to-school program, which helps children get fresh, local, and sustainably raised foods. Local farmers should not be forced into an unpopular program that has nothing to do with food quality or safety in order to provide food for our children.

* The claim that USDA has achieved 33% of its Premises Registration goal is wrong. USDA computes its percentage of premises registered based on farmers who answer the agriculture census. Hundreds of thousands of additional horse owners, families with a few chickens, suburbanites with a pet pot-bellied pig, and others like them are technically covered by NAIS, but USDA ignores them when it reports its supposed successes to Congress. The vast majority of people who will be impacted by NAIS either oppose it or are still unaware of it!

* NAIS has never been specifically approved by Congress. This massive program, which will impact millions of people, should be addressed through full and open debate, not snuck in through appropriations.

6 comments:

Razor Family Farms said...

I have written letters and am just amazed that this stupid idea has gotten this far! It's shocking.

Thank you for posting this!

Blessings!
Lacy

Brian Charles Clark said...

Hi Robbyn,

I thought this podcast series might be of interest to you and your readers, so am copying the news release for it here. Hope this doesn't annoy! --Brian

June 23, 2008 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Brian Clark
Office: 509-335-3551
Cell: 509-432-1496
bcclark@wsu.edu

SOURCE CONTACTS
B. Susie Craig
King County Extension Educator
206-205-3100
scraig@wsu.edu

Karen Killinger
Consumer Food Safety Specialist
509-335-2970
karen_killinger@wsu.edu

WSU Extension Launches “Food Safety in a Minute” Podcast Series

RENTON, Wash. - An outbreak of salmonella in tomatoes and spinach takes food off the grocery shelves. Avian flu in chickens and BSE in cattle result in the destruction of millions of birds and cows. A natural disaster shuts down electricity, and your refrigerator warms up. Is your food safe to eat?

A new series of podcasts from Washington State University Extension helps answer some of these questions. Each “Food Safety in a Minute” podcast offers listeners a handy, easy-to-apply tip. The first in the series is available Wednesday, June 25. Additional podcasts in the series will be posted each Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. Pacific time.

With 76 million Americans a year experiencing a food-borne illness, this is a series you, your readers and listeners, and your family can’t afford to miss.

Simple practices like washing hands, keeping the kitchen clean and cooking foods properly are only the obvious first steps in keeping food safe. As consumers we think know how to tell food that is safe to eat from food that is not—but the “sight and smell test” is not a reliable method of detecting food pathogens. Spoilage micro-organisms don’t make us sick, pathogens do—but food containing pathogens such as E. coli or salmonella look and taste just fine.

The Food Safety in a Minute podcast series addresses a wide gamut of issues, including holiday food safety, packing school lunches to insure children are eating safe food, how long to store canned food, and many other topics.

Visit the Food Safety in a Minute Web page at http://cahnrsnews.wsu.edu/foodsafety/ to download the first in the series. Subscribe to the RSS feed to insure you don’t miss an installment. Each podcast is one minute long (and a one megabyte download or stream), making it perfect for use on radio and for the general public on the go.

-30-

Seven Trees said...

Just when schools in our area are working to source lunch ingredients locally, we get this kind of BS. Thanks for posting about it. Hopefully word will spread so we can take action before it's too late.

I just found out that WA state is working to make rainwater harvesting (even 50 gallon rain barrels) a permit-needed activity, claiming rainwater as a state resource. Another example of rampant government intrusion into our right to make sustainable choices for ourselves.

The W.O.W. factor said...

Don't kow why I have such trouble getting onto your comment section (prb'ly my remote location dial-up) Left comment yesterday on CoffeeCoffeeCoffee.
Read SEVENTREES...going to check that out! WA, and I'm sure others I'm not aware of, does seem to want to intrude on our sustainability! 3 yrs. ago, we decided NOT to get a brand, because at that time, WAIS was going to make it mandatory i believe 1/07-cows, chickens, horses etc....which then only became voluntary instead....until now this NAIS. Keep up the good work, keeping everyone up to date on issues that affects our daily lives!!

Robbyn said...

Lacy, can you even believe this would be something we have to address? (sigh) We do have to do something about it, you're right...

Brian, thanks for sending the link...I have not yet had time to check out the podcast (very sorry!) and I'm reluctant to put things here I've not looked over first. However, all the blog readers here are intelligent folks with amazing abilities and will do your podcast credit whether they agree or disagree...thank you for posting and I hope some readers weigh in :)

Seven Trees, it's so frustrating seeing that those who're showing initiative to NOT have to depend on the government to solve our problems are being lassoed by said government in a way that legislates dependency...ARGH...I'm appalled to read that rainwater has now entered their radar in such a way. We must preserve our freedoms. What's next...the air we breathe??

W.O.W...I'm learning from you, since you already have animals, and our acquisition of them will be down the road. I'm a newcomer to this issue, but I guess at least I can be a loudmouth? :) I don't think the average non-farmer has any idea what small farmers are up against as far as regulations and government intrusion, which seem to be flourishing under different labels, one of the most recent of which is now the term " health and safety" or "national security/health interests"

Robbyn said...

P.S....

Is anyone else having trouble commenting here?

I'm having trouble commenting on a few blogs myself, but they're not all Blogger blogs. If you're having commenting troubles, what is happening when you try to post a comment? I'd like to contact Blogger to see what's up...