When most Americans think of employees of the Food and Drug Administration, images of researchers, scientists and inspectors working to ensure that mass-produced food and medicines are fit for human consumption may come to mind. But for hundreds of American farmers who have been — often frighteningly literally — targeted by the FDA, the reality is very different: They see images of bureaucrats armed to the teeth violently invading their farms.
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says it is time for the Federal government to stop arming these bureaucrats and allowing them to torment small American farmers.
“We have nearly 40 federal agencies that are armed. I’m not against having police, I’m not against the army, the military, the FBI, but I think bureaucrats don’t need to be carrying weapons and I think what we ought to do, is if there is a need for an armed policeman to be there, the FBI who are trained to do this should do it. But I don’t think it’s a good idea to be arming bureaucrats to go on the farm to, with arms, to stop people from selling milk from a cow,” Paul said Wednesday calling for an end to the FDA’s police powers.
Paul offered an amendment to the Prescription Drug User Fee Act that would quell FDA abuses and disarm bureaucratic Health and Human Services Agencies.
Among the other things the Senator wished to accomplish with the amendment are no longer restricting people who sell natural health products from advertising their benefits and ending the criminalization of mistakes.
He said the amendment would have required the FDA to prove mens rea, or criminal intent, when charging people with a crime.
This amendment would fix this problem by strengthening the mens rea component of each of the prohibited acts and the FDA acts by including the words “knowing” and “willful” before we address and accuse someone of a crime.
This I think would give protection to folks who are guilty of inadvertently guilty of breaking a regulation and would keep from overflowing our jails. We’ve got plenty of violent criminals without putting people in for honest breaches of regulations. If Congress is going to criminalize conduct at the federal level as it does with the FDA act, the least it can do have is have an adequate mens rea requirement. My amendment will attempt to do this.
It’s not that we won’t have rules at the federal level, but the rules ought to be reasonable. We ought to allow people to market vitamins. There’s no earthly reason why somebody who markets prune juice can’t advertise it helps with constipation.
Unfortunately for people who have endured armed FDA raids and will in the future, Paul’s initiative was voted down on the Senate floor Thursday by 78 Senators. Only 15 Senators, all Republicans, supported Paul’s amendment.