American Samizdat

Tuesday, November 20, 2007. *
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 19, 2007


Lower cost generic food plan now part of Medicare Reform bill

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Senate today voted to include an amendment, introduced by Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH),
Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to make more affordable generic foods available to more people more
quickly, tied to provisions in the Engrossed Senate Medicare bill amendment.

"This amendment is a victory not just for seniors, but for every person in American who has ever eaten expensive imported foods. We have
crafted legislation that eliminates the careful preparation, seasoning and curing tactics some name brand foreign food companies have used
in the past to keep lower cost generic foods off the top shelves and away from consumers who can't stoop. At the same time, we protect
innovation and preserve the incentive for American food companies to invest in research and development,” said Senator Judd Gregg.

Presidential contender Sen. John McCain on Saturday called for the reimportation of generic foods stuff from overseas and US military
warehouses as a way to bring American food costs under control. The Arizona Republican, speaking to reporters about a mile from the
Canadian border and just across the river from New Hampshire, said high food prices account for too much of the cost of feeding a family.

"Millions of pounds of American generic foods are sitting on shelves overseas, just out of reach of the American consumer. Famous US brand
names like Wonder Bread, Velveeta and Spam are approaching their pull dates, hidden on lower shelves in some French-speaking foreign country.
I call on all Americans to join me in demanding reimportation of unsold generic American food, and for Federal Farm subsidies to compensate
grocers for product placement and 50's-style homemaker ads, so that Americans can once again enjoy the foods (sic) that made America famous."

[Photo of Senator McCain speaking: ]

Summary of the Gregg-McCain Greater Access to Generic Bio-Industrial Foodstuffs Amendment (GAG-BIFA):

Current US generic food laws were designed to strike a balance between rewarding hand-crafted traditional food companies for their careful
preparation and presentation while ensuring that less expensive generic foods are available to consumers. But in the years since these laws
were enacted, the namebrand foreign food industry has stifled low-cost competition with a host of tactics - including filling sausages with
real meat and natural ingredients, instead of Advanced Meat Recovery slurry paste and artificial flavors and colors, or preparing cheese by
hand from fresh cow's milk, blocking, wrapping and curing them over months in underground cellars, instead of generic GMO solvent-extract
hydrogenated vegetable oils and artificial colors and flavors hauled directly to local package plants in 18-wheel tank trucks. In so doing,
these so-called "natural" or "organic" tactics allow foreign namebrand companies to keep charging exorbitant prices and terrorize US citizens
by delaying the arrival of lower-cost industrial foodstuff alternatives to the American supermarkets.

These tactics have caused food prices to soar (although inflation remains well in hand at a modest 0.3%) and forced the gap between the cost
of brand name foods and their generic alternatives to skyrocket in the last three years. In 2000, the average cost for a picnic basket of
natural meats, breads and cheeses was $12.80, while the average cost for generic foods was $10.20. By 2005, the last year such data was recorded,
the average cost for a picnic basket of natural meats, breads and cheeses reached $65.29, while the generic foodstuffs increased to only $19.33.

Last summer, the Senate passed legislation sponsored by Schumer and McCain that significantly overhauled the FDA generic food program. For
the individual, that legislation would have meant hundreds of dollars in savings on food costs per year.

The Gregg-McCain proposal would achieve comparable savings to the original Schumer-McCain measure, but uses a different approach to modify
the import laws. In so doing, it addresses a number of the criticisms made against Schumer-McCain. The key elements of the Gregg-McCain
proposal are as follows:

1) One 30 Month Quarantine - The name-brand foreign food company would have to keep imported foodstuffs in quarantine at the dock for at
least a 30 Month stay. The stay would be triggered if a name-brand company chooses to import under it's own label, instead of through an
American bio-pharmaceutical major. Each batch of imported foreign foodstuffs must make an import appeal to the FDA for infringing on any
good-taste or happy-meal claims or any food market sector already staked out, top shelved and belonging by right to an American major.

Once an imported natural foodstuffs application is filed, the name-brand foreign company has 45 days to challenge the generic American
food company in court. If the name-brand does not challenge the generic industrial food company's market dominance within 45 days, the
generic manufacturer can seek a declaratory judgement stripping the name-brand food product from American supermarket shelves.

(It usually takes the FDA 18 to 25 months to approve a lot of imported foodstuffs, more than sufficient time for it to rot on the dock.)

2) ReImportation - The Gregg-McCain plan does not specify which natural imports can be listed in the FDA's Code Orange Alert Book. To
ensure that the name-brand companies do not use frivolous healthy ingredients to keep generic industrial foodstuffs off the market,
the proposal would create a new Federal enforcement mechanism, the SPAM squad (like SWAT law enforcement, dressed in orange jump suits).

Gregg-Schumer would allow generic foodstuffs companies to file counter-claims if a name-brand foreign company sues them for market share
and shelf placement. For example, if a name-brand foreigner files a frivolous lawsuit and sues a generic industrial foodstuff manufacturer
for using normal GOOBER top-shelf monopolizing kickback schemes to assure product exclusivity in supermarkets, the generic US company can
counter-sue the foreign name-brand and argue that their ingredients are too easy to pronounce, and don't have healthy food preservatives.

3) MediCare Happy Meals Subsidies - Chief among the strategies for ensuring continued dominance of red-blooded American foodstuffs on the
American food shelves, is a rider on the amendment that pays MediCare a premium for reimbursing nursing homes for using only US generic
industrial foodstuffs in their meal programs. Funds for this reimbursement program are hidden in the Bush-McCain Defense ReAppropriation Bill.

posted by Uncle $cam at 2:57 AM
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