Monday, July 26, 2010

Get Kevin's Law moving through Congress

For those of you who aren't aware, here's the reader's digest version on Kevin's Law as it's currently stated in Wikipedia.

Kevin's Law was nicknamed in memory of two-year-old Kevin Kowalcyk of Colorado, who died in 2001 after eating a hamburger contaminated with E. coli O157:H7. It was formally known as the Meat and Poultry Pathogen Reduction and Enforcement Act of 2003.

The bill was originally introduced by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, as H.R. 3160, in the 109th Congress.[3] [4] This bill never became law, as it was referred to committee but never reported on by committee nor voted on. Versions of the bill have been introduced in each subsequent Congress, but as of April 2010 have never been reported out of committee.

Kevin's Law would strengthen the U.S. government's ability to prevent contaminated meat and poultry from entering the food supply by:
- Requiring the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to identify the pathogens that threaten human health (e.g. Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes).
- Requiring the USDA to establish performance standards to reduce the presence of these pathogens in meat and poultry.
- Confirming that the USDA has the authority to enforce its own standards by shutting down plants that continually breach basic health standards. Courts have held that the USDA does not have this authority in the absence of explicit authorizing legislation.

Corporate meat processors have lobbied against Kevin's Law, arguing that it would increase the cost of food and is unnecessary.

That last part is complete b.s. of course, when we're talking about human lives and what most of the general public consumes on a daily basis.  The issue of e-coli in our food is an alarming one, cases seem to be increasing with consistency in the news, and much of the corporate food industry tries to mask it with stuff like ammonia filler in hamburger meat to kill the bacteria.

...and you wonder why friends you might know (yours truly included) are starting to go fully organic and vegan.  There doesn't seem to be much left in the world in the way of food to eat that isn't polluted with a potpourri of horrible crap.

It comes as no surprise that companies like Monsanto (the uber evil Death Star of the food industry, you'd be amazed at some of the twisted stuff they do...bad, bad, bad...more on them another time) don't want this bill to pass.  

This issue of Kevin's Law doesn't seem to be very well known by the general public, and definitely represents an uphill battle to become law.  With many of these issues intentionally hidden from the public, and with the corporate food industry being as big as it is lobbying Capitol Hill, it seems like a seismic shift with public opinion and food-eating habits would be the only way to start bringing attention to the issue.

Here's a link to more information about Kevin's Law for those who are interested.  More on this issue and the massive tentacles of its effects later.  Kevin's Law is merely a symptom of a massively larger problem with the food industry, and the health of Americans, that weighs in on questions about societal issues like birth defects and possibly even the emerging pattern we've seen with things like autism and ADD.

It goes without saying that you can't put a price on your health.