[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
http://farmandranchfreedom.org/content/food_safety_bills_09

Food Safety Bills in Congress
Tell 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 
farmers market.

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 agency’s 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, 
H.R. 279:

?    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!
Take Action

     *
       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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