Testimony at the Food and Drug Administration/PADepartment of Agriculture Listening Session on FOOD SAFETY May 13, 2010, Harrisburg, PA
My name is Frank Schaller. I am a concerned citizen, a very concerned citizen. And a self-appointed advocate for the farmers whom I buy directly from.
I have six Rules for the State and Federal regulators I hope you will consider. The theme throughout the Rules are “Focus on the Cause not the Symptoms”. From the research I have been doing the last couple of months it seems the government is focusing on the symptoms – we need to focus on the cause.
The cause can be identified through two tracks of agriculture that we have today. That is Industrial Agriculture and Sustainable/Organic Agriculture. They are two totally different tracks that need to be handled differently.
Rule #1 Cooperate with Nature. Federal and State regulators will not get it right if they do not cooperate with Nature.
Rule #2 Recognize synthetic fertilizers, dangerous pesticides, mono-croping and other unnatural industrial agriculture behavior is not even “Worst practices”, it is “disastrous” practices. Please do not green wash these bad practices. A Toxicology Journal pointed out that 1/10(*) of the applied pesticides hit the target pests. The EPA both state and federal point out where the rest of the pesticides are. Check your children’s blood.
Rule #3 State and Federal regulators need to incorporate Organic and Sustainable experts into your decision making processes. Please hire them, appoint them, put them in your bureaucracy, decision making structure of your day to day activities. In 1991 this is about 20 years ago there were 1600 different synthetic chemicals that were allowed in agriculture, industrial agriculture. That’s 3 million tons of synthetic chemicals dumped on the planet in one year. 60 to 80 years of industrial agriculture has brought us to this point. So again, I repeat, focus on the cause not the symptoms.
Rule #4 Johns Hopkins, Center for a Livable Future states, “Agriculture cannot be dealt with in isolation but must be seen as part of a whole ecosystem whose Balance must be maintained“. Nature has designed our bodies to heal themselves if we give it a chance. A stream or river is designed to heal itself, if given a chance. Our Soil – Our Planet is designed to heal itself if given a chance.
Rule #5 Truth in labeling. Do not allow industry to make you impose “absence labeling” on food consumers. Experts have shown dangerous chemicals buried in inert ingredients. I repeat, Truth in Labeling. Every dangerous ingredient even if buried in “inert” should be on the label so that consumers are informed, have informed consent. Again heat and radiation if the molecular structure is changed, experts, scientist, doctors have indicated it should be on the label. As many of you know California tried to say almonds were raw when they were not.
Rule #6 which probably should be rule # 1. Do not treat the symptoms of our food chain problems. It is not a gorilla in the room. Industrial agriculture is not an elephant. It is a lion breathing down our necks, and our children and grandchildren necks. We must deal with the cause not with the symptoms.
Doctors have pointed out that e coli, salmonella, H1N1 strains that we have today that we are talking about on our produce has been created by industrial agriculture. Obviously, I don’t have time to go through the research here, but I am sure you have access to it as well.
Please, Rule #6, Work on dismantling the causes. Federal and state regulators need to work on transitioning away from dangerous synthetic chemicals, mono-croping, changing farm animal’s physiology requiring medications, over medication and medication included in the food source and other “worst industrial practices”. Please do not green wash these industrial practices.
In conclusion, I reiterate Rule#3. Hire, appoint, consult with sustainable agriculture and organic experts, farmers, researches, people who have been out there for years and years and years doing this good work.
Nature never gets it wrong and Nature will heal itself if we stop dumping on our planet
Thank you for this opportunity and thank you for your service when you are Cooperating with Nature.
(*) Correction made after May 13th verbal presentation: not 1/10 but 1/10 of 1 percent