January 8, 2013 by Anders Ingemarson
After the Newtown tragedy the gun control battle has predictably taken center stage. 2nd Amendment defenders are right in pointing out that preventive gun control laws are punishing the vast majority of law-abiding citizens who want to own and carry a gun for legitimate reasons—protection, target shooting, hunting, etc. A few rotten eggs committing despicable crimes is not reason to violate the rights of the rest of us.
Yet in other areas subject to government control, these individuals are not as quick to stand up for their rights.
In a January 4 news release that has received little coverage, probably because America was still dozing off after two weeks of holiday feasting, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced “two new food safety rules that will help prevent foodborne illness. The proposed rules implement the landmark, bipartisan FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)…”. Said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius: “The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act is a common sense law that shifts the food safety focus from reactive to preventive.” (italics mine)
Preventive food control laws punish the vast majority of law-abiding food producers, wholesalers and vendors who want to research, develop, produce, market, and sell what they think the consumer will pay for. It doesn’t matter if it’s your local sustainable, organic, grass fed beef producer or Big Food Inc. It makes no difference if it’s your favorite farmer’s market vendor or Chain Store Corp. They all have the right to follow their vision, to pursue their goals, to trade freely up and down the food chain without government interference.
Yes, we will experience the occasional salmonella infested egg, E. Coli burger and Listeria Cantaloupe. And it’s regrettable, even tragic, when it happens. But a few rotten eggs committing despicable crimes, or more likely, making fateful mistakes, is not reason to violate the rights of the rest of us. And we have plenty of objective laws on the books to deal with possible criminal and civil offenses.
In a truly free market place, as a producer or vendor, your most valuable asset is your reputation. Without government interference—with total separation of state and food—there are no preventive laws to hide behind; you better have your act together or the competition will crush you. In a truly free market place, as a consumer, there are no preventive laws tempting you to abdicate your responsibility for what you eat; staying educated becomes second nature.
Preventive gun control, preventive food control—different areas, same principle: preventive law violates individual rights.
Some may argue that we need a new amendment:
“A well regulated militiastomach being necessary to the securityhealth of a free statecitizen, the right of the peopleindividual to keep and bear armseat whatever he pleases shall not be infringed.”
I think we just need to apply the same fervor to food as we do to guns. By all means get up in arms about your right to own a rifle. But use some of your ammo to champion your right to eat what you please; and the right of your food suppliers to produce and sell it to you without government interference. In the end, if you’re like me, good food will probably do more for your happiness than a good gun.