Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Food Safety S510 Letter from Senator Chambliss

This is the letter that I received back from Senator Chambliss after I wrote him concerning the S510 Bill. I felt that some of my Ga. friends might like to see where he stands.

Dear Mrs. Peevy:

Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts concerning S. 510, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act. It is good to hear from you.

I cosponsored the bipartisan FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which was introduced in the Senate on March 3, 2009, by Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois. As it is written, this legislation would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to enhance current FDA authority to better protect our nation's food supply. The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act calls for an increase in the frequency of FDA inspections at all food facilities, grants the FDA expanded access to records and testing results, and allows the FDA the authority to order mandatory recalls should a private entity fail to do so voluntarily upon the FDA's request. S. 510 also requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish a pilot project to test and evaluate new methods for rapidly and effectively tracing fruits and vegetables in the event of a food-borne illness outbreak. On December 18, 2009, S. 510 was reported out of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, and was placed on the Senate Legislative Calendar.

Whether produced domestically or imported, Americans must be able to trust that the food sold in their grocery stores and restaurants is safe. I believe it is vital to ensure that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the tools to properly monitor and inspect the food that is consumed in this country. While overall the safety of our food supply is unmatched throughout the world, certain incidents demonstrate the need to afford regulators the authority they need to better identify vulnerabilities in our food supply while maintaining the high level of food safety most Americans enjoy and take for granted.

As a member of the U.S. Senate and a consumer myself, I believe it is vital to improve our capacity to prevent food safety problems, as well as our capacity to detect and respond to food-borne illness outbreaks. An effective public-private sector partnership is critical to this overall effort. The private sector has the responsibility to follow federal guidelines and ensure the safety of their products. The federal government has the responsibility to oversee these efforts and take corrective actions when necessary.

There are many provisions of S. 510 to assist small farmers and protect them from undue regulation. The small farm provisions of S. 510 are extremely important and were key to my decision to be an original cosponsor of the bill. The following are just a few examples of small farm provisions included in the bill that I strongly support:

1)Small entities that produce food for their own consumption or market the majority of their food directly to consumers are not subject to registration or new recordkeeping requirements. This includes food sold through farmers' markets, road-side stands, public events and organizational fundraisers;

2)The original bill makes no change in definition of facility under the Bioterrorism Act of 2002 which have to register with FDA. Farms and restaurants were exempted, and remain exempted in S. 510;

3)Small businesses are given regulatory flexibility throughout S. 510. For example, small processors are given additional time to comply with new food safety practices and guidelines created by the bill and the Secretary may modify or exempt small processors from new hazard analysis and preventive control requirements based on size and risk. The legislation also requires the FDA to publish several user-friendly small entity compliance guides to assist firms with the implementation of new practices;

4)Throughout the bill, consideration is given to the unique agricultural practices and requirements organic foods under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990; and,

5)Regarding risk-based traceability, farms and small businesses that are not food facilities are not expected to create new records. Only during an active investigation of a food-borne illness outbreak, in consultation with state and local officials, the Secretary may ask a farm to identify potential immediate recipients of food if it is necessary to protect public health or mitigate a food-borne illness outbreak.

I am concerned about the Tester Amendment because it establishes exemptions that are not based on risk or science, and it creates a loop-hole in which regulated products could be processed with unregulated products. As stated above, ALL farms that directly market to consumers are protected in the original version of S. 510, and the Tester amendment is unnecessary and potentially harmful.

While I was an original cosponsor of S.510, I am concerned about the last minute changes that were made to the bill behind closed doors, both due to the substance of those changes as well as potential costs associated with them. I am also concerned that Senators will not have the opportunity to offer amendments on the Senate floor for an open and transparent debate. For these reasons, I voted against the motion to proceed to S. 510. I will carefully review the implications of the changes to S. 510 to determine if I will support the bill when it comes to a vote for final passage.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me. If I can ever be of assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Ashley And Nolan!!

I can't believe that it has been a whole year today that my son Nolan and his bride Ashley were wed. Actually, it is hard to remember Ashley not being in our family. Serious college and career choices make for very long courtships:) They began dating late in their senior year of high school. Then they weathered going to college in different states with Nolan finishing his chemical engineering degree and taking his first job almost 3 hours away. Ashley attended college year round for 7 long years to finish her doctorate degree in physical therapy! All the while they kept each other close and with God in their hearts they made it last November 7,2009 to complete their journey to become man and wife. We are so proud of them and can't wait to experience many more wonderful years with them! We Love you both so much!!!
While getting a new daughter in the deal is fantastic we are also fortunate to have inherited her lovely family as a part of ours now. We are blessed beyond measure!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Diamond Rio: In God We Still Trust

First Freeze

Last night we had our first freeze of the year....a little late but still welcomed:) I gathered the last of our bell peppers and green tomatoes,tucked in the critters and stoked up the fire! I am a bit excited that "snuggling weather" is here :)
The air is so crisp and cool and the leaves are falling quickly. I checked on the broccoli and decided to wait a little longer before cutting it. It will be warmer again next week and with the past 3 days of rain it is sure to put on extra growth. We have already eaten some of our turnip greens but they will definitely be better after the colder weather sets in.
I made lots of green tomato salsa and canned it up for later use. We kept sampling it with saltine crackers due to the fact that we are trying to lose weight and be HEALTHY and have a no chips rule in the house at the moment.
It takes a lot of work and preparation to eat healthy. It is so easy to get in the habit of just grabbing what is easiest when you are tired or hurrying . I made lots of fresh yogurt and feta this week so that it will be there when we need a quick snack. Granola will be the next baking project.
I am working on keeping fresh raw veggies in the fridge so we have no excuses. It will get harder to make good choices as we head into the holiday season.
For some crazy reason when the weather gets cool I start longing for comfort foods.....soups,cornbread,sweet potatoes and pastas. It must be a built in mechanism from our past when it was necessary to have more calories when battling the cold lean winters.
I think that our does get the same calling as breeding season starts. The once placid animals that picked at the grain and hay that is before them 24/7 in the summer are devouring it as fast as I can fill up the feeders. The minerals and protein blocks that I put out are are gone in record time.
I see squirrels and chipmunks darting here and there competing for the acorns and hickory nuts .They are stockpiling for the winter. Bugs,flies and every creature that crawls and slithers are trying to make their way into my house or barn. There is a whisper on the wind that is telling us to prepare for what is ahead.
We all move rhythmically,animals and humans alike in a zombie state driven by prodding ancient rituals as old as time. I marvel at how they all seem to know how to prepare even in their first winter season. As I putter around in what is the fall sequel of spring cleaning, my mind toys with the often quoted verse in Ecclesiastes. It becomes exceedingly clear to me that they prepare for something that they have little or no knowledge about . They follow faithfully in the order that God set before them.
It is a delicate ballet as they dance from one day to another,one season following the next until their work here is finished. The Maestro conducts a beautiful symphony from on high. There is so much comfort for the faithful to be carried by HIM IN HIS PERFECT ORDER. Even the smallest of creatures know the TRUTH!
It is only we as humans that sometimes forget .....

Bible in Basic English

1 For everything there is a fixed time, and a time for every business under the sun.

2 A time for birth and a time for death; a time for planting and a time for uprooting;

3 A time to put to death and a time to make well; a time for pulling down and a time for building up;

4 A time for weeping and a time for laughing; a time for sorrow and a time for dancing;

5 A time to take stones away and a time to get stones together; a time for kissing and a time to keep from kissing;

6 A time for search and a time for loss; a time to keep and a time to give away;

7 A time for undoing and a time for stitching; a time for keeping quiet and a time for talk;

8 A time for love and a time for hate; a time for war and a time for peace.

9 What profit has the worker in the work which he does? 10 I saw the work which God has put on the sons of man.

11 He has made everything right in its time; but he has made their hearts without knowledge, so that man is unable to see the works of God, from the first to the last.

12 I am certain that there is nothing better for a man than to be glad, and to do good while life is in him. 13 And for every man to take food and drink, and have joy in all his work, is a reward from God. 14 I am certain that whatever God does will be for ever. No addition may be made to it, nothing may be taken from it; and God has done it so that man may be in fear before him. 15 Whatever is has been before, and what is to be is now; because God makes search for the things which are past.

16 And again, I saw under the sun, in the place of the judges, that evil was there; and in the place of righteousness, that evil was there. 17 I said in my heart, God will be judge of the good and of the bad; because a time for every purpose and for every work has been fixed by him. 18 I said in my heart, It is because of the sons of men, so that God may put them to the test and that they may see themselves as beasts. 19 Because the fate of the sons of men and the fate of the beasts is the same. As is the death of one so is the death of the other, and all have one spirit. Man is not higher than the beasts; because all is to no purpose. 20 All go to one place, all are of the dust, and all will be turned to dust again. 21 Who is certain that the spirit of the sons of men goes up to heaven, or that the spirit of the beasts goes down to the earth? 22 So I saw that there is nothing better than for a man to have joy in his work--because that is his reward. Who will make him see what will come after him?