Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Farm Raids and Food Safety

State and federal governments have been increasing the number of raids on households, businesses, and farms selling raw dairy products. When the raids occur, farms are not reimbursed for loss of goods confiscated, including computers that are taken as part of investigating selling raw foods.
The current uptick has Pete Kennedy of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund concerned, not only about the spreading of the raids, but about the seemingly easy willingness of judges to hand out search warrants. While the U.S. Constitution's fourth amendment suggests judges should exercise tight controls over search warrants ("no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause..."), Kennedy observes, "I haven't seen an agency turned down yet" over the last four years in requests for search warrants connected with raw milk and other food production and distribution.
Commenter John Thacker (at MR) notices the irony that
the same foodies who are complaining about these raids support tough FDA and USDA powers that they want used against those big agricultural companies (when they do things like, e.g., advertise science.) See some of the other articles on the site. Yet somehow they're shocked when the powers of government end up being used against the little guy, and big companies learn how to game the system and capture the regulators.
Others see the hand of BigAg behind the raids, feeling threatened by competition. Not mentioned by any of the commenters, however, are the real food safety risks from eating improperly handled food.

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