Here's the Wall Street Journal on the most blatant "screw the consumer in favor of the producer" act since the Toy Safety Act. It was almost held up because of a technical/parliamentary error, but too many Benjamins were at stake:
The Senate waved through the largest expansion of food regulation since FDR on Tuesday, 73 to 25, and maybe the bill won the votes of 13 Republicans because there was hardly any public controversy. These days, the government needs to take over entire industries to get anyone to notice.
Not that this bill in the name of food safety isn't a down payment. The Food and Drug Administration will gain new powers over the 2.2 million farms and 28,000 food producers in America—including federal standards for agricultural practices and food processing, transportation and storage—as well as the authority to mandate nationwide recalls.
High-publicity outbreaks like salmonella in eggs or E. coli in spinach have obscured the reality that food-borne illnesses have fallen by nearly one-third over the last decade—largely because businesses have every incentive to police themselves. Meanwhile, Congress's increasing demands on the FDA—it regulates about 25 cents out of every dollar spent in the economy—mean that the agency does nothing well. When the FDA mistakenly fingered tomatoes as the source of 1,300 illnesses in 2008, the tomato industry suffered $100 million in losses. The real culprit was tainted jalapenos.
Not surprisingly, this bill's main critics have been the small farms and local and organic food outfits that don't have the profit margins to comply with new regulatory burdens like the "risk-based preventative controls" that the FDA will soon enforce. The House version applies even to farmers markets and roadside stands. Naturally, agribusiness and the processed food industry (and their legal departments) couldn't be happier, and it's not the first time big business has leveraged government to weigh down smaller competitors.
I bet the champagne corks are popping at Monsanto today. The picture of all the screws came from here. Go here to see a list of the Republicans who need to be primaried ASAP.