[permaculture] Tell the Senate HELP Committee to Protect Sustainable and Organic Family Farms in the Senate Food Safety Bill

Lawrence F. London, Jr. venaurafarm at bellsouth.net
Thu Nov 12 21:37:31 EST 2009


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [SANET-MG] Tell the Senate HELP Committee to  Protect 
Sustainable and Organic Family Farms in the Senate Food Safety Bill
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 2009 17:26:32 -0800
From: Tracy Lerman <tracy at OFRF.ORG>
Reply-To: Sustainable Agriculture Network Discussion Group

Friends,

Please find OFRF's most recent OFAN alert below and at this link:
http://ofrf.org/action/ofan/091112_alert.html

If you would like to join the Organic Farmers Action Network,
you can do so here: https://ofrf.org/subscribe/ofan.html.

Organically yours,

Tracy Lerman
OFRF Policy Organizer


November 12, 2009

Tell the Senator HELP Committee:
Food Safety Bill Must Protect Sustainable and Organic Family Farms

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee will take
up the Senate's version of major food safety legislation (S. 510) on
Wednesday, November 18th, 2009. While this bill would strengthen the safety
of the food supply, it also contains several provisions that could seriously
harm small scale and organic farmers, local and regional food systems, and
conservation and wildlife habitat. The National Sustainable Agriculture
Coalition (NSAC) and the National Organic Coalition (NOC) have put forth a
set of proposed amendments to address some of these concerns.

Your Senators, Kay Hagan and Richard Burr, sit on the Senate HELP Committee.
Please contact them TODAY and ask them to support the amendments to S. 510
proposed by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and the National
Organic Coalition. Specific talking points and Senate HELP Committee members
and their contact info are below.

Specific Talking Points

The bill should provide small and mid-sized family farms that market 
value-added farm products
with training and technical assistance in developing food safety plans 
for their farms.


The bill should narrow the kinds of farm activities subject to FDA 
control and to base any regulation
of farms on sound risk analysis. (Current FDA rules assume, without 
specific scientific evidence or
risk analysis, that all farms which undertake any one of a long list of 
processing, labeling or packaging
activities should be regulated.)


The bill should integrate the FDA standards with the organic 
certification rules. FDA compliance should
not jeopardize a farmer's ability to be organically certified under 
USDA's National Organic Program.


The bill should require that FDA food safety standards and guidance will 
not contradict federal
conservation, environmental, and wildlife standards and practices. 
Farmer should not have to choose
which federal agency to obey and which to reject.


Farmers who sell directly to consumers should not be required to keep 
extra records and be part of a
federal "traceback" system. All other farms should not be required to 
maintain records electronically
or records beyond the first point of sale.

Senate HELP Committee Contact Info

Senator                                  Phone                         Fax

Democrats

Tom Harkin (IA)                 202-224-3254          No fax
Chris Dodd (CT)                 202-224-2823          202-224-1083
Barbara Mikulski (MD)         202-224-4654          202-224-8858
Jeff Bingaman (NM)            202-224-5521          No fax
Patty Murray (WA)             202-224-2621          202-224-0238
Jack Reed (RI)                            202-224-4642          202-224-4680
Bernie Sanders (VT)           202-224-5141          202-228-0776
Sherrod Brown (OH)           202-224-2315          202-228-6321
Bob Casey (PA)                  202-224-6324          202-228-0604
Kay Hagan (NC)                 202-224-6342          202-228-2563
Jeff Merkley (OR)               202-224-3753          202-228-3997
Al Franken (MN)                 202-224-5641           No fax
Michael Bennet (CO)           202-224-5852           202-228-5036


Senator                                  Phone                         Fax

Republicans

Mike Enzi (WY)                   202-224-3424          202-228-0359
Judd Gregg (NH)                202-224-3324          No fax
Lamar Alexander (TN)         202-224-4944          202-228-3398
Richard Burr (NC)               202-224-3154          202-228-2981
Johnny Isakson (GA)           202-224-3643          202-228-0724
Orrin Hatch (UT)                 202-224-5251          202-224-6331
Pat Roberts (KS)                202-224-4774          202-224-3514
Tom Coburn (OK)               202-224-5754          202-224-6008
Lisa Murkowski (AK)           202-224-6665          202-224-5301


Let us know if you contact Senators Hagan and Burr.
Email Tracy Lerman, OFRF Policy Organizer at tracy at ofrf.org.

Background

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee will mark
up S. 510, the Senate version of major food safety legislation next
Wednesday, November 18. The House of Representatives passed similar
legislation, HR 2749, last July. Both bills focus on foods regulated by the
Food and Drug Administration, not meat and poultry which is regulated by 
USDA.

S. 510 includes several key reforms that would put real teeth into federal
regulation of large-scale food processing corporations to better protect
consumers. However, the bill as written could also do serious harm to
organic and family farming, local and regional food systems, and
conservation and wildlife protection. The good news is the HELP committee
can fix those problems with the adoption of some common sense provisions.

The proposed amendments from NSAC and NOC would retain the crack-down on
corporate bad actors without erecting dangerous new barriers to the growing
healthy food movement. Safer food systems have small and mid-sized family
farms, sustainable and organic production methods, and more local and
regional food sourcing.

More Information

NSAC's talking points on S. 510

NSAC's Policy Brief Food Safety on the Farm

OFAN Policy Alert for the House of Representatives' Food Safety Bill, HR
2749, which passed the House last July

Join the Organic Farmers Action Network today:
https://ofrf.org/subscribe/ofan.html

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Organic Farming Research Foundation, 303 Potrero St. #29-203, Santa 
Cruz, CA 95060
tel. 831-426-6606, action at ofrf.org, www.ofrf.org.

Tracy Lerman
Policy Organizer
Organic Farming Research Foundation
PO Box 440 * Santa Cruz, CA 95061
p: (831) 426-6606 x 108 * f: (831) 426-6670
www.ofrf.org <http://www.ofrf.org/>  * tracy at ofrf.org

"Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our
deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner
sense of justice than we do."  - Wendell Berry

Join the Organic Farmers Action Network today! For more info, visit http://
<http://ofrf.org/subscribe/ofan.html> ofrf.org/subscribe/ofan.html.



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