[permaculture] [SANET-MG] Action Alert on Food Safety Bill - Protect Small Farms - Act TODAY

Lawrence F. London, Jr. lflj at bellsouth.net
Tue Jul 28 10:44:27 EDT 2009

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [SANET-MG] Action Alert on Food Safety Bill - Protect Small Farms - Act TODAY
Date: Tue, 28 Jul 2009 04:34:18 -0700
From: Chrys Ostrander <chrys at THEFUTUREISORGANIC.NET>

Forwarded Message:
An Action Alert from the
Organic Farming Research Foundation, 303 Potrero
St. #29-203, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
tel. 831-426-6606, <mailto:action at ofrf.org>action at ofrf.org, www.ofrf.org.

Call Your US Representative Today - Urge Him or
Her to Support the Kaptur-Farr Food Safety Proposal

There is no question: our food system needs to be
safer. But Congress is currently debating food
safety legislation (Food Safety Enhancement Act -
H.R. 2749) that could compromise small and
mid-sized organic family farmers. If approved,
certain provisions could hinder organic,
beginning, and sustainable farmers? access to
markets, require expensive fees, and lead to the
dismantling of important conservation practices and wildlife habitat.

Representatives Marcy Kaptur (OH-9), Sam Farr
(CA-17), Maurice Hinchey (NY-22), Jesse Jackson
Jr. (IL-2), Peter Welch (VT-at large), Chellie
Pingree (ME-1) and Earl Blumenauer (OR-3)
letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee
with specific proposed changes to HR 2749 that
addresses many of the concerns raised by the
sustainable and organic agriculture community.

HR 2749 will go before the full House of
Representatives early this week! It is important
that you call your representative today and ask
him or her to join the effort to protect small
and mid-sized organic and sustainable family
farmers, the environment, and consumer choice by
supporting the complete Kaptur-Farr proposal. (To
find out who represents you, visit
Please see the background section below for more information.

Please Call Your Representative Today.

Please call your representative ?s office and ask
to speak with the aide that works on agriculture.
To find out who represents you, visit

Message: ?I am a constituent of Representative
______ and I am calling to ask (him/her) to
support the Kaptur-Farr proposal for HR 2749, the
Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009. I am asking
(him/her) to vote against HR 2749 unless all of
the proposals included in the Kaptur-Farr letter are included.?

Note: If you are in Representatives Farr's or
Kaptur's districts, or your Representative is one
of those who supported the Kaptur-Farr Food
Safety proposal, please call and thank them.

On June 17, the House Energy and Commerce
Committee approved HR 2749, the Food Safety
Enhancement Act of 2009. This bill is the
culmination of several food safety bills that had
been under discussion since the beginning of the
year, many of which would have imposed draconian
regulations on small scale farmers. HR 2749 did
incorporate some changes proposed by the National
Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (of which OFRF
is a member). However, this bill still contains
several provisions that could be very harmful to
small scale organic and sustainable farmers if
they are included in the final law.

HR 2749 fails to provide guidance so that new
food safety standards are harmonized with those
specified in the Organic Foods Production Act.
This means that organic farmers, already subject
to a rigorous standard and certification process
that takes into account food safety concerns,
would have to undergo additional and possibly
repetitive costly inspections. The bill also does
not specify the positive role that on-farm
conservation practices can play to address food
safety concerns, such as installing windrows to
cut down on dust and airborne pathogenic
organisms. In addition, HR 2749 requires food
processing facilities to register annually with
the FDA and pay a flat $500 registration fee per
facility, regardless of size or income. This
means that a small processor (even farmers doing
on-farm value-added processing if selling mostly
wholesale) would pay the same annual fee as a
facility run by Tyson, ADM, or any other large
food manufacturer. Finally, HR 2749 requires
farms to do extensive and expensive electronic
tracing even if they only sell their own
unprocessed products in the wholesale market.

The bill is expected to go to the House floor for
a vote on Tuesday, July 28 or Wednesday, July 29.

The Kaptur-Farr proposal addresses many of the
concerns that the sustainable and organic
agriculture community has with HR 2749, by:

·                            Ensuring that new
food safety regulations are consistent and
coordinated with the federal organic standard
administered by the USDA National Organic Program
(NOP) which already has traceability and other
measures that support food safety;

·                            Protecting wildlife
and biodiversity by emphasizing "animals of
significant risk" as FDA develops produce standards;

·                            Directing the FDA to
ensure new produce standards focus on the
highest-risk problems in the fresh produce sector;

·                            Expanding the direct
marketing exemption so that farmers selling
directly to school cafeterias and other
institutions or whose farm identity is preserved
on products all the way to the consumer are not
required to establish an expensive tracing system;

·                            Establishing a
sliding scale for facility registration for farms
that qualify as ?facilities? based on their
on-farm processing activities so that small and
mid-sized family farmers are not forced to pay
the same fee as multinational companies.

·                            Requiring farmers to
maintain paper records of farm sales receipts to
the first buyer of the product rather than
electronic records of all sales through the entire food supply chain.

More Information
?Dear Colleague? letter circulated by
Representatives Kaptur and Farr to House Members.

full text of HR 2749

Food-safety bill meets objections from groups? ?
Des Moines Register, July 26, 2009

Safety Enhancement Act draws ire? ? S.F. Chronicle, July 17, 2009

This message originated from or was forwarded by:
Chrys Ostrander
Chrysalis Farm @ Tolstoy
Organic Micro-permaculture
33495 Mill Canyon Rd.
Davenport, WA 99122
chrys at thefutureisorganic.net

"From each according to their ability, to each according to their needs"
Louis Jean Joseph Charles Blanc - "The organization of work" 1839
Karl Marx - "Critique of the Gotha Program" 1875

"The purpose of agriculture is not the production
of food, but the perfection of human beings"
Masanobu Fukuoka (February 2, 1913 - August 16,
2008)  - "One Straw Revolution" 1978

"The community whose every member possesses the
art of deriving a comfortable subsistence from
the smallest area of soil... will be alike
independent of crowned-kings, money-kings, and land-kings...."
Abraham Lincoln: Address to the Wisconsin State
Agricultural Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1859

"We will never have an organic future and a
stable climate until we pull all the troops out of Iraq
and redirect our annual $650 billion military
budget to greening the economy and guaranteeing
a sustainable environment and economic justice for everyone."
Ronnie Cummins, National Director, Organic Consumers Association
at the "Farms Not Arms" public forum and protest in Manhattan, September,2007

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