[permaculture] Food Safety Bills in Congress | Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance
Lawrence F. London, Jr.
venaurafarm at bellsouth.net
Fri Oct 30 17:35:01 EDT 2009
Food Safety Bills in Congress | Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance
Food Safety Bills in Congress
One Size Does Not Fit All When Considering Food Safety Bills!
Small local farms and food processors are fundamentally different from
huge, industrial food suppliers that ship food all over the country.
Congress can and should address the problems with the industrial food
supply without harming the local food systems that provide an
alternative for concerned consumers!
The U.S. Senate is considering a bill, S. 510, to reform the food safety
system. Although reform of the industrial food supply is clearly
needed, this bill threatens to create more problems than it will solve.
S. 510 would undermine the rapidly growing local foods movement by
imposing unnecessary, burdensome regulations on small farms and food
processors everyone from your local CSA to the small bakers, jam
makers, and people making fermented vegetables to sell at the local
October 8, 2009: FARFA and 20 other organizations send a letter to the
Senate, urging broad reforms to S. 510. Read the letter here
Download this flyer to share with your neighbors and community! And
more action steps are at the end of this page.
FDA Regulation of Local Food Processors Is Unnecessary and Burdensome
Federal regulations may be needed for industrial processing that source
raw ingredients from multiple locations (sometimes imported from other
countries) and ship their products across the country. But federal
regulation is overkill for small local processors. State and local
public health laws are enough for local food sources.
HACCP Will Not Improve Food Safety and Will Harm Small Processors
S. 510 applies a complex and burdensome Hazard Analysis and Critical
Control Point (HACCP) system to even the smallest local food processors.
The HACCP system, with its requirements to develop and maintain
extensive records, has proven to be an overwhelming burden for a
significant number of small regional meat processors across the country.
In the meat industry, HACCP has not eliminated the spread of E-coli
and other pathogens and has resulted in fewer independent inspections of
the large slaughter plants where these pathogens originate. At the same
time, small regional processors have been subject to sanctions due to
paperwork violations that posed no health threat. Applying a HACCP
system to small, local foods processors could drive them out of
business, reducing consumers options to buy fresh, local foods.
S. 510 Puts FDA On The Farm
S. 510 calls for FDA regulation of how farms grow and harvest produce.
Given the agencys track record, it is likely that the regulations will
discriminate against small, organic, and diversified farms. The House
version of the bill directs FDA to consider the impact of its rulemaking
on small-scale and diversified farms, but there are no enforceable
limits or protections for small diversified and organic farms from
inappropriate and burdensome federal rules.
What The House Has Done
On July 30, the U.S. House passed its version of a food safety bill,
? The Good: The House added a definition for retail food
establishments that allows for some cottage level processing without
invoking FDA regulation. Over 50% of the product must be sold at retail
to qualify. The amendments also inserted some exemptions in the
registration and record-keeping sections of the bill for farmers selling
direct to consumers
? The Bad: HR 2749 continues to direct FDA to set standards for how
farmers grow and harvest some types of produce, such as leafy greens,
even for the small farmers selling directly to consumers
? The Ugly: HR 2749 puts local facilities processing local foods for
local markets under the same regulatory regime, and paying the same
fees, as the major industrialized agribusinesses, like Dole or Del Monte
The focus is now on the Senate. The major foodborne illness outbreaks
and recalls have all been within the large, industrial food system.
Small, local food producers have not contributed to the highly
publicized outbreaks. Yet both the House and Senate bills subject the
small, local food system to broad federal regulatory oversight.
Increased regulations, record-keeping obligations, and the penalties and
fees could destroy small businesses bringing food to local communities.
Take action today to protect local food producers, promote food
safety, and help your local economy!
Call your Senators and tell them to EXEMPT small and local food
sources from the food safety bill, S. 510. For contact information, go
to www.congress.org or call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121
Download this flyer to share with your neighbors and community!
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