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Emergency Action Alert on Leahy Food Safety Bill

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URGENT! Please Take Action Immediately!

This very minute, Senate insiders are working behind closed doors to make even innocent acts by small food and supplement producers punishable with ten-year jail terms.
It is touch-and-go whether we can keep that provision out of the Senate Food Safety bill (S. 510). At least 40,000 messages have already poured into Senate offices, but we need even more. If you have already sent a message, please send another, because there is new information. This is a now-or-never moment.
As we have explained before, the specific problem lies in Sen. Leahy’s so-called Food Safety Accountability Act (S. 3767). Long jail terms were explicitly rejected by the Senate committee that put together the Senate Food Safety bill. These long jail terms are already in the House Food Safety bill, which has passed. If they get into the Senate bill, they will almost certainly become law.
Senate insiders are currently “editing” their Food Safety bill behind closed doors, creating what is called a Manager’s Amendment Package that will probably be substituted for the current Food Safety bill. We know that one of the issues they are deciding is whether to move the Leahy language inside this new version of the bill. Even more shocking, they are not required to reveal this amendment package to the public (or even to the Senate itself) until right before the bill comes up for a vote.
Why would they do such a thing? One reason: to stop grassroots organizations like ANH-USA from informing the public or organizing a public response.
Leahy’s bill now says you don’t go to jail for up to ten years unless you “consciously or recklessly disregard a risk of death or serious bodily injury.” This is an improvement. But of course, what is conscious or unconscious, is in the eye of the beholder. No actual harm is necessary! The threat of ten years in jail is a powerful weapon of intimidation, which the FDA will use.
Please do your part to help stop this. Contact your senators right now. Tell them to keep Leahy’s language out of the Food Safety bill, whether in the Manager’s Package or as an amendment on the Senate floor.
Your voice makes a difference. Earlier we asked you to support Sen. Tester’s proposal that exempts small food producers who sell their food directly to market (such as farmers’ markets) from additional burdensome regulations in the Food Safety bill. We are happy to tell you that this amendment just got accepted, thanks to your action!
We’ve also just learned that Rep. Henry Waxman, still chairman (for a few more weeks) of the House Commerce Committee overseeing food, has told key Democratic senators that he will support the final version of the Senate Food Safety bill rather than try to meld it with the truly horrible House bill he crafted. Why would he do this? Because he wants Food Safety passed during the lame duck session. This means that whatever comes out of the Senate will likely pass the House and become law in short order.
This appears be our last chance to stop the Leahy language. We need your support now more than ever. Please contact your senators immediately, even if you have done so before!


Click this link to go to the Action Alert page. Once there, fill out the form with your name and address, etc., and customize your letter. We have a suggested message for you, but please feel free to add your own comments to the letter.
We’d also love to hear your comments about this article—just add your thoughts below—but remember that the messages below are only seen by our ANH-USA readers and not Congress or government agencies.

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