Stand for Health Freedom has teamed up with the Weston A. Price Foundation to support the PRIME Act: the Processing Revival and Intrastate Meat Exemption Act. This act would give local control back to livestock farmers, taken away decades ago, allowing a return to local processing of slaughtered pigs, cattle, goats, and sheep for local sales.[i] It would greatly increase the transparency and trustworthiness of our food supply, bolster communities, create food security, and infuse money back into local economies.
As explained by Congressman Thomas Massie, a champion of this bill in the House of Representatives:
“Current law exempts custom slaughter of animals from federal inspection regulations, but only if the meat is slaughtered for personal, household, guest, and employee use (21 U.S.C. § 623(a)). This means that in order to sell individual cuts of locally raised meats to consumers, farmers and ranchers must first send their animals to one of a limited number of USDA-inspected slaughterhouses. These USDA-inspected slaughterhouses are sometimes hundreds of miles away from farms and ranches, adding substantial transportation costs and increasing the chances of locally raised meat co-mingling with industrially produced meat. The PRIME Act would expand the current custom exemption and allow small farms, ranches, and slaughterhouses to thrive.”[ii] (We highly recommend watching his interview on Fox News explaining the act for a quick and comprehensive overview.)
The PRIME Act rests on two foundational issues we at Stand for Health Freedom aim to protect: informed consent and local control of health. The food industry is speeding toward a dangerous intersection of pharma and food and is on a collision course with lab-grown food products. Clearly, food integrity has an important seat at the health freedom table! Americans have many valid concerns about their food supply right now. Regarding meat:
- Organic meat can be vaccinated without disclosure.[iii] Will the meat I buy get mRNA shots?
- Why is the supply of real meat decreasing while fake meat abounds?
- How will I know what’s in the meat I buy?
From Weston A. Price Foundation:
“Current law provides that the sale of meat is legal only if the animal is slaughtered and processed at a facility under state or federal inspection; “inspection” in this context means that an inspector is present when slaughtering or processing takes place. This requirement went into effect due to Congress passing the Wholesome Meat Act of 1967, disastrous legislation that has been largely responsible for the formation of oligopolies in the beef and pork industries. Custom slaughter and processing facilities do not require that an inspector be present, but only the owners of the animals are allowed to receive the meat slaughtered and processed at custom houses. The sale of custom meat is illegal. The PRIME Act would lift the federal ban on the sale of custom meat. Custom facilities would still be subject to federal and state regulations, including inspection; however, inspectors would no longer have to be on site at custom facilities during slaughtering and processing of animals for meat sales to be legal in intrastate commerce.”[iv]
What can we do?
The PRIME Act has been referred to as “the greatest opportunity in food freedom in decades.”[v] American families want to know where their food comes from and what’s in it. We want to support our communities. As it stands, the meat that Americans buy is processed almost exclusively by four large corporations, two of which are owned by China and Brazil.
The federal government is not safeguarding American farmers and families with the laws it has in place. “They want you to eat bugs or to eat some kind of fake meat,” Representative Massie said in a September 2023 interview with Fox News. “But look, we don’t want food that’s made in a factory,” he continued. “We want food that comes from a farm, and that’s what the PRIME Act is geared for.”[vi]
There are bills in both the House (HR2814) and the Senate (S907), and each has support from both Republicans and Democrats. In this 118th Congress, that is huge. This bill has a big chance of moving! As of November 2023, there are fifty-three cosponsors in the House and nine cosponsors in the Senate. That’s not bad, but there could be so many more. Our elected officials have been so mired in partisan politics that it’s been near impossible for them to focus on anything other than five-alarm fires like the federal budget for 2024. This bill can be a breath of fresh air for our weary congresspeople.
The PRIME Act would alleviate meat shortages from supply chain disruptions by allowing farmers to keep their products local. Really, isn’t it insane that there are prohibitions on buying local? Shopping local does not rely on the supply chain, so it doesn’t have the associated costs, making it better for our wallets. The reduced travel time is also better for the animal’s welfare, and for those counting—a lower carbon footprint.
In fact, poultry farmers already have this exception. According to Institute for Justice, “Federal law does not regulate farmers who slaughter and process their own birds, as long as they have 20,000 birds or fewer and only sell the birds within their respective state. This poultry is regulated at the state and local level, and most places allow farmers to slaughter their poultry on their own farms and sell their poultry directly to consumers and retailers. Farmers have used this exemption to safely sell their poultry for the last 40 years. The PRIME Act would similarly allow states to create local solutions for farmers and ranchers to process their other livestock.”[vii]
The nexus of food and health
Food and health are inextricably intertwined, and the laws that regulate them started from the same seed in America. In the early 1900s, Upton Sinclair revealed horrifying conditions in the meat packing industry in Chicago, Illinois. That book, “The Jungle,” created such a public outcry that it changed the course of food production in America.[viii] The 1906 U.S. Congress passed both the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and the Pure Food and Drug Act (PFDA) on the same day: June 30, 1906. The FMIA was under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture, but the PFDA needed a new department — this grew into what we know as the Food and Drug Administration.[ix]
The World Health Organization has also been beating the drum for food quality and supply control to come under the umbrella of public health by asserting its One Health approach.
Dr. Joseph Mercola published an article on August 2, 2023, exposing a report from Harvard and New York University academics that added fuel to the fire of a threat from “zoonotic spillover,” including danger from U.S. meat quality and processing.[x] He posed the question of whether this peer-reviewed assertion was laying the groundwork for “the transition to fake meat.” He said he wouldn’t be surprised. He pointed out, “the One Health narrative is that the natural environment poses countless risks to human health and must therefore be controlled. Meanwhile, it’s mankind’s efforts to control and replace nature in the first place that is causing most of the problems.”
Interestingly, the Institute of Justice argues that the PRIME Act’s restoration of local processing of meat will have a positive impact on the climate and animal welfare, because it drastically reduces the distance necessary for transporting the animals.[xi] So, supporters of the WHO’s One Health approach have a reason to cheer right alongside health freedom warriors on this one!
The bottom line: Americans have the constitutionally protected right to informed consent and to make their own health decisions. It isn’t going out on a limb to say that what we eat is a large part of most people’s plan to stay healthy. People will differ on what foods are best for them and what they will look for or tolerate in their food. But the common ground is that informed consent is key to health freedom through food choices. When you can talk to the people who grow and process and handle the food you will choose to put on your family’s plates, it’s a powerful way to create transparency because you can hold them accountable for the quality and content of that food. The federal government has put up a huge wall preventing families from having access to locally sourced food, while simultaneously stomping on family-owned smaller business by making them jump through federal hoops to sell their product. The PRIME Act will bring health and community closer to home.
After you contact your representative and senators, we encourage you to sign up for emails from the Weston A. Price Foundation on this important issue for updates and any future action alerts!