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Monday, June 15, 2015

Scaling up "the Jungle" -- Trashing Food Safety Laws

Ultimately food safety enforcement requires Point of Origin Laws. But at the moment we can't even enforce Country of Origin laws because of the power of the corrupt World Trade Organization Courts (WTC) and existing international regimes. If we continue to pass bad trade bills this will only get worse. The International of Giant Multinationals seem to be aiming at a regime of weak overall world government, strong but corrupt courts, and chaos at the State (national) level to maximize their own power and Influence. This should look familiar.

In the 19th Century Giant US companies used the same strategy on a national Scale. Powerful companies using States against one another, packing the courts, the Senate before we changed how it was elected and buying or owning officials of a weak United States Government so they could run their own baronies, oppress labor and ship cheap dangerous products around the country. This is the world of Upton Sinclair scaled up to International scale. If we pass the latest round of Trade Agreements we'll be agreeing to an International Jungle of Corrupt Conglomerate rule that would make muckrackers like Upton Sinclair scream from their graves. To read more about Upton Sinclair read:

More Reason to Renegotiate ALL our Trade Agreements

If we pass these new Trade agreements and they will rule our country. Agreements like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) are not about Free trade, they are about corporate veto over US and international local law through the WTO and corporate controlled Investor State Tribunals. They are about laws guaranteeing Investors a clean flow of money no matter how dirty or illegally they behave in one of their investments. And they will have the usual lead Acetate references to Labor and the environment, that with no real enforcement ability, will essentially be a license to do the opposite of the stated virtues of "clean", "safe", environments or promises to "provide for their families" for labor. Even the best treaties are no good if there is no enforcement mechanism, but an enforcement mechanism through easily captured bureaucratic hierarchies and corruptly constituted courts is creating a "New World Order" of trade that essentially makes what happens with the Countries that agree with these treaties a side show. These agreements cannot stand, but while they are enforce they will do mischief to commoners while enriching the International Grifters who wrote them.

The Irony of the WTC decision against Country of Origin Laws

My objection to Country of Origin laws is that they are inadequate. We should have Point of Origin and chain of custody laws on Animals and other food products as they are raised, harvested, transported and processed. But the inadequacy of the laws didn't stop Canada and Mexico from hypocritically challenging USA law in the WTC.

Canada's challenge was hypocritical because it has such laws in place:

" "product of (country of origin)" is to appear in close proximity to the product description; it shall be at least half the height of the largest letter on the main panel; and the inspection stamp or the statement of the exporting country must replace the Meat Inspection legend." [ taken 6/15/2015]

This clearly shows that Canadians at least have no serious reservations on labeling meat with where it was packed. Maybe the Mexicans did. But in any case they were the ones who brought the case to the WTC. Ordinarily the US would have challenged that ruling and in the challenge brought up that Canada has the same laws being assaulted by Canada in the USA. Ironically I expect that Harper will probably challenge this law at home next as he is pretty much as corrupt as any US politician.

But instead the lobbyists behind the decision brought the case to Congress and Congress caved.

The Fix is in And the Chickens are on the March!

Obviously the fix was in because almost as soon as the decision was announced various companies announced plans to ship live chickens to China for processing -- and return to the USA for eating!

"the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently gave the green-light to four chicken processing plants in China, allowing chicken raised and slaughtered in the U.S. to be exported to China for processing, and then shipped back to the U.S. and sold on grocery shelves here. Furthermore, the imported processed poultry will not require a country-of-origin label nor will U.S. inspectors be on site at processing plants in China before it is shipped to the United States for human consumption." []

The obvious purpose of this is to arbitrage low wages in China, arbitrage exchange rates and to avoid health, safety and labor laws in the USA. Expect more fingers in our Chicken byproducts.

My own personal reaction to this is to support the "Chicken Revolution" and get more folks to raise Chickens locally. I'm not happy with buying meat processed 500 miles away, much less 5000. And the fact that the plantation Factory Oligarchs find Point of Origin laws inconvenient worries me about what else might be inconvenient for them! How many rat hairs can be in your meat? We generally assume that our chicken is contaminated before cooking it nowadays. It can get better, but it also can get worse.

Broad Conclusions

If we pass the Trans Pacific Partnership and some of these new treaties we will be binding ourselves to laws that the people of the United States haven't voted on and essentially giving up sovereignty to International Multinationals. As we can see in this case and others that means that we can't stop them from using substandard cancer causing plastics, poisoning our food, using radioactive metals in their steel, producing substandard steel and forcing us to degrade our infrastructure by using cheap imported goods. In the end these companies will no longer be USA companies and the greedy business executives will find their own jobs offshored as well. But in the meantime they think they can create a neo-Colonial regime using treaties. Should we let them? Poor Upton Sinclair. He wanted the industry to start treating workers fairly. We got the FDA out of his book instead.

Further Reading

I struggle with following the Keep it Simple Stupid Principle. But fortunately halfway through writing this I realized it segues into an article I promised to write on something else. So that makes it easier to stop here. I have a lot more information to share and to say on this.

On the Offshoring to China, Additional Readings:
Because Laws and Websites change, all URLS are as of 6/15/2015:
"41. (1) Where food products are imported, the label shall state clearly and conspicuously the country where the product was packed, in type as prescribed in section 1 of Schedule V, either as part of the name and address of the foreign operator or as a separate declaration indicating the origin of the product. (2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), where an imported food product has been packed for a Canadian importer under his private label, country of origin shall be declared on the label clearly and conspicuously in lettering not less than ¼ inch in height on containers over 10 ounces and not less than 1/8 inch in height on containers of 10 ounces and under."
[ taken 6/15/2015]

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