Food Safety Act: Get informed

“What’s at stake with the Food Safety Modernization Act?
In 2010, President Obama passed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which called for the first update of federal food safety law since 1938. FSMA is poised to provide the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with broad powers to monitor and enforce food safety rules in order to prevent and respond to food borne illnesses. Food safety is of utmost priority of both farmers and consumers; however, there is concern that the current version of the new regulations does not consider the capacity of small-scale farms. Following the proposed rules could prove too costly and potentially put many family farms out of business.

The loss of small and mid-size farmers would have significant impact on our regional food system. It is important for both farmers and consumers to learn more about the FSMA rules and how they will affect food safety from field to table. Anyone can submit comments to the FDA to ensure that the rules do not unfairly penalize small-scale farmers. The public comment period will end on November 15th.  The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has created great materials for the public to learn more about the proposed FSMA rules. Click here for more information.” From Just Food website

I spoke with Farmer Ken of Havenwood Farms the other day and he told me about the new requirements under the Food Safety Modernization Act. For an example of one such requirement, farmers with free-range, pastured animals will now be required to place  netting over the entire field to protect wildlife from flying in and contaminating the animals in the field. This type of requirement could be expensive for a farmer and also will require the fields be littered with posts to hold miles of netting.

Another requirement may require farmers to apply compost and manure after  a 9 month resting period. Although we can understand why they would make such requirements, this will change the Biodynamic and Organic growing systems that have been used safely for years.

The FSMA is the FDA’s way of protecting us from tainted fruits and vegetables like the cases of  E.Coli covered cantaloupe & spinach this past year. We all want this protection. But instead will end of punishing the small farmers who will not be able to keep up with the standards and will shut down due to non-complience the FDA should focus on the larger farms who are not following the rules common sense and traditional farming practices.

If you have time, you can read through the standards through the link above. Sustainable Agriculture has made a brief summary at this link. Then Submit your comment to the FDA by November 15 to show your support of a clean food system but without increasing chemicals on farms and without a reduction of Organic and Biodynamic farms. 

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