[permaculture] [SANET-MG] S.510 back from the dead to unleash army of FDA agents

Lawrence F. London, Jr. venaurafarm at bellsouth.net
Thu Dec 9 11:11:11 EST 2010


On 12/9/2010 10:00 AM, Aron Marsh wrote:
> FYI
>> The Food Safety bill (S.510) is back from the dead.

How completely shortsighted, unproductive and unhelpful for your
nation's small farmers, processors and farmers markets for you to post 
this nasty bit of pro big agribusiness propaganda at this critical 
juncture for the bill. Similar types (ones I had thought would have had 
the foresight and common sense to support the bill with amendments, but 
no) recently got up and sounded off to the audience at at a large 
regional sustainable agriculture gathering in NC that S.510 was too 
flawed and should be defeated (talk about not keeping the faith and 
throwing the baby out with the bathwater...); one even whined that 
problems could be expected for all farmers exempted, i.e. a reflection 
on all of them and the exemption rule, if even one of them sold food to 
a customer that was bad and got reprimanded by the FDA. Obviously an 
"opinion" from a non farmer out of touch with reality.

I will counter with this:

On 12/9/2010 10:08 AM, Jeff Schahczenski wrote:
 > With due respect,
 >
 > Why is it tyranny to protect food consumers from large food processer
 > mistakes? The bill provides ample opportunity to both protect middle
 > to smaller direct marketers from overly onerous FDA regulation and
 > provides the potential for new programs to increase education about
 > food safety generally...... seems reasonable to me.

It also seems reasonable to a large number of clear thinking people, 
farmers and consumers alike, especially those actively involved in the 
emerging, rapidly expanding, local, sustainable food movement.

<>

An action alert from National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)

Action Alert
December 8, 2010
Local and Regional Food at Risk
<.... ....> Representative

Food Safety Legislation passed by the Senate and to be considered by the 
House as early as this week is in trouble. Big Ag is out in force, 
lobbying House members to ditch provisions that are friendly to small 
and midsize farms. They know that if they can impose expensive and 
one-size-fits-all food safety rules, they can stop the growing local 
food movement in its tracks. Lawmakers are dealing with significant 
misinformation and confusion and our hard won amendments may be lost. We 
must send a loud and clear message about where we stand.
<.... ....> <....> <.... .... .. ....> the Senate Bill with the 
Tester-Hagen Amendment Intact.

<... .... .. ....>: <.. ..> Congress.org <.....> zip code. <.....> 
<..........>, <.....> Capitol Switchboard <....> <...........> : 
202-224-3121.

The message is simple: "<............> the Senate version of the Food 
Safety Modernization Act (S.510) with the Tester-Hagen Amendment intact. 
We need a food safety bill that cracks down on corporate bad actors 
without erecting new barriers to more local and regional food sourcing. 
Regulation that is scaled appropriately for small and mid-sized farms 
and processors is vital to economic recovery, public health, and 
nutritional wellbeing."

Background:

Read our latest report:

A Sustainable Agriculture Perspective on Food Safety:

http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=3gyoUse67gF74uIYV1LsCFTX5Ej7GaN2

What's in the Tester-Hagen Amendment?

(1) The amendment clarifies existing law which says that farmers who 
direct market more than 50% of their product to the consumer at the farm 
or at a retail location off the farm such as a farm stand or farmer's 
market need not register with FDA. This clarification is especially 
important for off-farm retail locations such as farmers markets.

(2) It provides a size appropriate and less costly alternative to Hazard 
Analysis and Critical Control Plans (HACCP) for farmers who:

* Direct market more than 50% of their products directly to consumers, 
stores or restaurants, and

* Have gross sales (direct and non-direct combined) of less than 
$500,000, and

* Sell to consumers, stores, or restaurants that are in-state or within 
275 miles.

Farmers who qualify must provide documentation that the farm is in 
compliance with state regulations. Documentation may include licenses, 
inspection reports, or other evidence that the farm is in compliance 
with State, local, county, or other applicable non-Federal food safety 
law. The farm must also prominently and conspicuously display the name 
and address of farm/facility on its label. For foods without a label 
then by poster, sign, or placard, at the point of purchase or, in the 
case of Internet sales, in an electronic notice, or in the case of sales 
to stores and restaurants, on the invoice.

If there are no state regulations or if the farmer prefers a different 
option, the farmer must provide FDA with documentation that potential 
hazards have been identified and that preventive controls have been 
implemented and are being monitored for effectiveness.

(3) It provides alternatives to the produce standards for farms that:

* Direct market more than 50% of their products directly to consumers, 
stores or restaurants, and

* Have gross sales (direct and non-direct combined) of less than 
$500,000, and

* Sell to consumers, stores, or restaurants that are in-state or within 
275 miles.

The farm must prominently and conspicuously display the name and address 
of farm/facility on its label. For foods without a label then by poster, 
sign, or placard, at the point of purchase or, in the case of Internet 
sales, in an electronic notice, or in the case of sales to stores and 
restaurants, on the invoice.

Also in the Senate Bill:

(1) An amendment sponsored by Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) to provide 
for a USDA-delivered competitive grants program for food safety training 
for farmers, small processors and wholesalers. The training projects 
will prioritize small and mid-scale farms, beginning and socially 
disadvantaged farmers, and small food processors and wholesalers. The 
grant program will be administered by USDA's National Institute for Food 
and Agriculture.

(2) An amendment sponsored by Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) to reduce 
unnecessary paperwork and excess regulation required under the 
preventative control plan and the produce standards sections of the 
bill. FDA is instructed to provide flexibility for small processors 
including on-farm processing, to minimize the burden of compliance with 
regulations, and to minimize the number of different standards that 
apply to separate foods. FDA will also be prohibited from requiring 
farms and other food facilities to hire consultants to write food safety 
plans. The Bennet amendment applies to all small farms and processors, 
not just those who direct market within 400 miles of their farms.

(3) An amendment sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for farms 
that engage in value-added processing or that co-mingle product from 
several farms gives the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority 
to either exempt farms engaged in low or no risk processing or 
co-mingling activities from new regulatory requirements or to modify 
particular regulatory requirements for such farming operations.

(4) An amendment championed by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to strip the 
bill of wildlife-threatening enforcement against "animal encroachment" 
of farms is also in the manager's package. It will require FDA to apply 
sound science to any requirements that might impact wildlife and 
wildlife habitat on farms.

(5) An amendment proposed by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) will not 
require small farmers to meet extensive traceability and record keeping 
if they sell food directly to consumers or to grocery stores and allows 
labeling that preserves the identity of the farm to satisfy traceability 
requirements. The amendment also prevents FDA from requiring any farm 
from needing to keep records beyond the first point of sale when the 
product leaves the farm, except in the case of farms that co-mingle 
product from multiple farms, in which case they must also keep records 
one step back as well as one step forward.





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