I have been reading a lot about HR 875 and it really does scare me. As I saw posted on the Seed Saver's Exchange message board, opposing the bill is like whispering into a hurricane.
But the idea is not new. I found this USA today article written during the e. coli spinach outbreak of 2006. The interesting thing is that at the time the FDA said "the system is working." Now a new food borne illness out break brings new calls as people fear peanut butter, that most American of all foods!
The problem is that small farms are NOT the problem. You do not hear of food illnesses linked to small farms, but it is small farms who would be most impacted. Large companies and agribusiness can meet new requirements as only a small annoyance. But for US, for small farms, the burden is perhaps un-surmountable.
In order for our voices to be heard we need to stand in the hurricane, and shout. It seems impossible that by summer farmers markets and CSAs could be quasi legal, but unless we stop this bill NOW that may be the case.
Let your friends know about this, and when they tell you that a bill like this is impossible, not in this country, make sure they understand that unless we stand up it IS POSSIBLE and it will happen. Look for an example at the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, written to limit lead in children's toys by testing requirements which basically made homemade toys illegal, overnight.
Some say we have less then two weeks to fight this...