Grow a Tomato, Go to Prison?

Now that’s a load of Bull Shit if ever there was one…

Amish Manure Spreader

Amish Manure Spreader

The original of this looks like it’s from Google as far as I can tell. It is unclear to me what, if any, permission is needed to use this for purposes of political satire / lampooning. I believe it falls under non-commercial fair use.

Original Image from:

OK, the “Food Safety Bill” has passed the Senate. I wonder if anyone has read it?

Frankly, I’m finding the word “safety” is rapidly coming to mean “tyranny” and it’s become a Red Flag when I see it. So in this case, I may well be over reacting to some other folks over reacting. On the other hand, if you told me a few years ago that government agents would be feeling me up at the airport and looking at nude pictures of me I’d have not believed that possible either….

So what have we got?

The financial news is just calling it “Food Safety” as is the MSM news. Not much mention of any potential “issues” in it. It’s the “alternate news” that got it’s panties in a bunch. Is there really cause for the degree of worry about the bill? Who knows. Certainly not the Senators (who, per all evidence, never bother to actually read anything they sign.)

FWIW, the “justification” is that there have been some salmonella outbreaks on some widely distributed foods along with a couple of other bacterial contamination issues. The problem as I see it is that there is no way any amount of “food safety inspection” can ever solve those problems. Just about every surface you would like to name anywhere in the food handling process is going to have some salmonella on it. It’s not like this is the Plague we’re talking about. It’s one of the most common bacteria around. If something lives in the water, it has salmonella exposure. Any bird product is going to have salmonella exposure. The answer is clean kitchen techniques and proper cooking, not Food Nazis.

Per the “E. Coli” outbreak from beef: That would be much better handled by simply sending out folks with butt wipes and finding the few cows that have the mutant form that causes the disease and eradicating that source. The idea of letting the (fairly few) sources continue while then trying to ‘fix it’ via assuring Zero E. Coli in the process is just insane. Every single gut of every single animal has E. Coli in it. ALL manure will have E. Coli in it. One presumes this means they will attempt to ban the use of manure as fertilizer even though it is the natural cycle. Like defining Pi as “3”, they do not see the simple truth of the nitrogen cycle.

There is a mutant form of E. Coli that causes the disease. For most of us, the E. Coli that lives in us is a helpful bacteria. The mutant is found in only a few cows and is known by the letters that describe it’s unique genetic makeup. The wiki article:

points out that our present systems are finding ways to fix this problem already:

In January 2007 Canadian bio-pharmaceutical company Bioniche announced it had developed a bovine vaccine capable of reducing O157:H7 in cattle by over 99%.[21]

On March 4, 2009, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) granted Epitopix a conditional license for the first E. coli O157 vaccine for cattle in the US.[22]

AND without a whole new $Billon Dollar set of Federal Fruit Fondlers and / or “TSA Proctologists” bovine or otherwise…

But here are some of the concerns expresses by others (from a random sample)

(NaturalNews) Senate Bill 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, has been called “the most dangerous bill in the history of the United States of America.” It would grant the U.S. government new authority over the public’s right to grow, trade and transport any foods. This would give Big brother the power to regulate the tomato plants in your backyard. It would grant them the power to arrest and imprison people selling cucumbers at farmer’s markets. It would criminalize the transporting of organic produce if you don’t comply with the authoritarian rules of the federal government.

“It will become the most offensive authority against the cultivation, trade and consumption of food and agricultural products of one’s choice. It will be unconstitutional and contrary to natural law or, if you like, the will of God.” – Dr. Shiv Chopra, Canada Health whistleblower ( )

So they make this sound like a “Grow A Tomato, Go To Prison” act.

While I hope not “hope is not a strategy”… or perhaps “This was not the ‘hope’ and ‘change’ I was looking for…”

IFF this is in fact in the bill, I’m willing to sign on to a Freedom Of Religion lawsuit as I have Amish ancestors and the free exchange of food and open pollinated seed is part of the Amish belief in a “simple” life with no technology used that is not found documented in the Bible.

This tyrannical law puts all food production (yes, even food produced in your own garden) under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security. Yep — the very same people running the TSA and its naked body scanner / passenger groping programs.

This law would also give the U.S. government the power to arrest any backyard food producer as a felon (a “smuggler”) for merely growing lettuce and selling it at a local farmer’s market.

These folks assert it makes “seed saving” a criminal act:

The basic thesis is that though seed is not mentioned by name, all the processes around it are mentioned and the details are left open for bureaucratic definition.

Seeds – How to criminalize them
Posted on June 13, 2009 by geobear7
Nov. 30, 2010 UPDATE: US Senate passes the Patriot Act for Food, S510, by a vote of 73 to 25.

March 19, 2009
By Linn Cohen-Cole

Wisdom says stop a bill that is broad as everything yet more vague even than it is broad.

Wisdom says stop a bill that comes with massive penalties but allows no judicial review.

Wisdom says stop a bill with everything unspecified and actually waits til next year for an unspecified “Administrator” to decide what’s what.

Where we come from, that’s called a blank check. Who writes laws like that? ”Here, do what you want about whatever you want and here’s some deadly punishments to make it stick.”


Here’s the bill. Let’s use our imaginations and extrapolate from the little bit it reveals and from the reality we know.


(a) Authorities- In carrying out the duties of the Administrator and the purposes of this Act, the Administrator shall have the authority, with respect to food production facilities, to–

(1) visit and inspect food production facilities in the United States and in foreign countries to determine if they are operating in compliance with the requirements of the food safety law;

(2) review food safety records as required to be kept by the Administrator under section 210 and for other food safety purposes;

(3) set good practice standards to protect the public and animal health and promote food safety;

(4) conduct monitoring and surveillance of animals, plants, products, or the environment, as appropriate;

(5) collect and maintain information relevant to public health and farm practices.

(b) Inspection of Records- A food production facility shall permit the Administrator upon presentation of appropriate credentials and at reasonable times and in a reasonable manner, to have access to and ability to copy all records maintained by or on behalf of such food production establishment in any format (including paper or electronic) and at any location, that are necessary to assist the Administrator–

Privacy? What privacy… Anything and everything looks like it’s fair game to me.

(1) to determine whether the food is contaminated, adulterated, or otherwise not in compliance with the food safety law; or

(2) to track the food in commerce.

(c) Regulations- Not later than 1 year after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture and representatives of State departments of agriculture, shall promulgate regulations to establish science-based minimum standards for the safe production of food by food production facilities. Such regulations shall–

(1) consider all relevant hazards, including those occurring naturally,and those that may be unintentionally or intentionally introduced;

(2) require each food production facility to have a written food safety plan that describes the likely hazards and preventive controls implemented to address those hazards;

(3) include with respect to growing, harvesting, sorting, and storage operations, minimum standards related to fertilizer use, nutrients, hygiene, packaging, temperature controls, animal encroachment… and water….

Ah, such a little paragraph, and so much evil packed in it. Notice they mention harvesting, sorting and storage operations? Notice they never mention seeds, but they are precisely what those words cover.

Now, watch how they will be able to easily criminalize seed banking and all holding of seeds. First, to follow how this will be done, you must understand that:

1. There is a small list inside the FDA called “sources of seed contamination” and
2. The FDA has now defined “seed” as food,
3. So seeds can now be controlled through “food safety.”

Those seeds (so far) include:

*seeds eaten raw such as flax, poppy sesame, etc.;
*sprouting seeds such as wheat, beans, alfalfa, most greens, etc.;
*seeds pressed into oils such as corn, sunflower, canola, etc.;
*seeds used as animal feed such as soy ….

That includes most seeds. It may even be all seed, given how they are skilled at ‘new’ definitions.

And what are the “sources of seed contamination” per the FDA? They include only six little items:

*agricultural water;
*manure (but not chemical pesticides or fertilizers);
*transporting equipment;
*seed cleaning (sorting) equipment; and
*seed storage (storing) facilities.

Did you know that seed cleaning equipment is THE single most critical piece of equipment for sustainable agriculture? It is how we collect organic seed. It is the machinery used after the season, when plants “go to seed,” to separate out (sort) the seeds from the plant material so the farmer can collect (harvest) and then save (put in storage) seed for the next year at little cost. With his own seed, the farmer also stays free of patented, genetically engineered, corporately privatized seeds.

This year, 2009, one item on the “sources of seed contamination” list is suddenly illegal in some parts of this country – seed cleaning equipment.

To get the drift, perhaps you need to know that the people who clean seed are being wiped out, as well.

How can they make such vital equipment illegal? Quietly, first of all, so as not to alert organic farmers who have a lot of political ties. And by saying it contaminates food. And by applying their innocent and reasonable sounding “minimum standards.”

“Contaminate” is their favorite word since the public fears the deadly contamination that industry itself – not farmers – has caused. That fear is valuable. Scare the public and it is easy to get “food safety standards” set without anyone reading them. 39 progressive co-sponsors leap on, thinking this is about “food safety.” But it is only about the use of “food safety,” not the reality of it

For to eliminate seed cleaning equipment, the FDA simply sets minimum “food safety” standards for seed cleaning (the simple separation of seed from plant) such that a farmer would need a million to a million and a half dollar building and/or equipment to meet the new requirements … per line of seed.

On the ground, where reality lives, a farmer in the Midwest who has been seed cleaning flax for 40 years with his hand made seed cleaner now can’t sell his flax on the market anymore. Never mind there are NO instances of anyone ever having gotten sick from seed cleaning equipment. And a farmer in another part of the Midwest who has been cleaning wheat, corn and soy for years with one single perfectly fine piece of equipment would now need three to four and half million dollars for three separate pieces of equipment, in order to satisfy the “food safety” standards.

So… looks like a “Big Win” for Agribusiness and a “Big Lose” for everyone else.

There is an interesting reference to Iraq and Monsanto that ought to be “checkable”:

Set the standard for “food safety” and certification high enough that no one can afford it and punish anyone who tries to save seed in ways that have worked fine for thousands of years, with a million dollar a day fine and/or ten years in prison, and presto, you have just criminalized seed banking.

The penalties are tremendous, the better to protect us from nothing dangerous whatsoever, but to make monopoly over seed absolutely absolute. One is left with control over farmers, an end to seed exchanges, an end to organic seed companies, an end to university programs developing nice normal hybrids, and an end to democracy – reducing us to abject dependence on corporations for food and gratitude even for genetically engineered food and at any price.

When you know that Monsanto with the help of the US government plundered ancient and rare seed banks in Iraq that held seeds with a genetic heritage (a biohistory belonging to all of us) going back thousands of years and then made it a crime for farmers there to collect or use their own normal and non-patented seeds off their own land, you see how extreme the intent to control is.

Now, perhaps it is possible to see how the identical thing is being done here, only it comes in a heavily disguised way – through “food safety” that isn’t “food safety” at all – and quietly sits in only one tiny little paragraph within a very large bill (and with no reference to seeds at all).

The Iraqis are now utterly at the mercy of Monsanto and the US for survival itself and will have to pay whatever prices are set for food. They can no longer just grow their own and be free people. So, no matter what form of government they may ever have, as long as this is true, they are now enslaved because the control over them is that extreme. Kissinger was right – control food and you control people.

These folks have the same kind of ideas in about the same language:

While these folks have a nice video about it:

My Take On It

If this passes the House and gets turned into law, don’t expect much compliance. There is a very long tradition of farmers being, well, independent. Were I a commercial farmer, I’d be real tempted to just mention at the local Farmers Grange that this looked like a good year to let the land lay fallow for a year. ALL of it…

I also know that there are a LOT of home gardeners who will be Royally P.O.ed if the TSA starts showing up to “Pat their Tomatoes”…

Subscribe to feed

About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Plants - Seeds - Gardening, Political Current Events and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Grow a Tomato, Go to Prison?

  1. Ken McMurtrie says:

    Well done EM!
    What a brilliant coverage and assessment of this diabolical behaviour of the powers-that-be. The insanity that surely exists in what appears to be part of the so-called “New World Order” has no bounds and apparently no opposition, at least from anyone who is in a position to achieve anything. Only the ‘voice of the people’ is active through web sites such as yours to expose the truths. Yet not enough people listen nor seem to be in a position to act.
    Lets hope that, eventually, the ‘power of the pen IS mightier than the sword’!

  2. H.R. says:

    “I’d be real tempted to just mention at the local Farmers Grange that this looked like a good year to let the land lay fallow for a year. ALL of it…

    Yeah, and get paid for it by same said government, albeit not as much as you’d make on a crop. Still, a one year strike by all farmers would be some serious pushback; not a trivial thing at all. The unprepared would die.

  3. C.B. says:

    Interesting that Iraq’s native seed storage facility was at Abu Graihb (sp?). The storage area was looted–although some seed was transported across the border, and saved. More info on this by googling.

  4. Van G says:

    Hmmm.. doesn’t this make you wonder about the seed vaults deep under mountains?

  5. PhilJourdan says:

    #1 – The House (under the democrats) seem to have spiked this -not out of any altruistic reasoning, but due to a fit of pique – the bill contains new taxes which constitutionally has to originate in the House.

    #2 – Frankly, I’m finding the word “safety” is rapidly coming to mean “tyranny”

    “rapidly coming”? Well, better late than never. It has always meant that when not applied to the only duty expressly defined in the Constitution (i.e. National defense). While many do not care about “seat belt laws” the fact that you can be imprisoned and fined for exercising your freedom of choice clearly shows that the “tryranny” is not new. They are just taking the next logical step.

  6. Pingback: Grow a Tomato, go to jail! | Sullivan's Travelers

  7. P.G. Sharrow says:

    A major holder of Monsanto stock is George Soros and his hedge funds.

  8. vigilantfish says:

    Farmer push-back prevented Monsanto from being able to use its Terminator gene to make seeds sterile. Farmers so cherish their ability to store seeds from one season to grow the next that the government was forced to rule against Monsanto. If it worked once, hopefully it will work again.

    Monsanto truly is a terrifying organization, and has more than enough control over farmers as it is. Charles Daniels in “Lords of the Harvest” commented that Monsanto’s ambition was to become the ‘Microsoft of seeds’. It’s only been able to do what it has done because of the perversion of patent laws that has occurred since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the patenting of organisms in 1980.

    The original intent was organisms that had undergone some modification by humans. The Iraq example, and Monsanto’s patenting of certain chemicals in the Neem Tree of India, forcing the people of India to pay royalties to produce Neem products that had been used for millenia there, show how seriously perverted patent law has become. At least, I suppose, these patents on natural products will lapse after 17 years – I can’t see how they can be prolonged. But Monsanto’s bully-boy tactics with US farmers it accuses of hoarding its GM seeds has ended more than one farming career. It has acquired the world’s largest stable of seed companies, and it looks as if this legislation will play into Monsanto hands.

    Frightening stuff you’ve put together here. Not the kind of thing I should be reading just before retiring for the night. Nevertheless, thanks Chiefio!

  9. David says:

    E.M., you are in good company with this, “Frankly, I’m finding the word “safety” is rapidly coming to mean “tyranny”

    “Such is the nature of the tyrant, when he first appears he is a protector”. Plato.

Comments are closed.