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Food safety bill 101: What are the facts and myths?

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Comprehensive reform hasn't taken place for years, Senator Harkin notes. "It couldn’t be more urgent or absurdly overdue," he said. "It is shocking to think that the last comprehensive overhaul of America’s food-safety system was in 1938 – more than seven decades ago."

What are the strongest arguments against the bill?

According to critics, it will create higher compliance costs for smaller producers, putting them at a competitive disadvantage against corporate farmers and producers who can more easily absorb costs, fees, and possible fines.

That's not the only type of expense. The legislation would cost the US government a total of $1.4 billion over four years, says Sen. Tom Coburn (R) of Oklahoma. One result could be higher food costs, some worry.

Others see the law as too sweeping and say it gives Washington bureaucrats, including the Department of Homeland Security, too much discretion over citizens who want to exercise control over their family's food supply.

"You may be disposed to embrace a genetically modified, enhanced, and altered food chain, but for those of us who eat our foods unadulterated, raised naturally, and without benefit of the federal government mandating what we can and can't eat, SB 510 is one more giant step toward consolidating total power over the lives of free citizens," writes Michael Geer on the American Thinker blog.

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