We all share the responsibility of keeping our food supply safe, from farm to table. The federal government’s new farm bill will unfairly burden family farmers, target sustainable and organic farming, reduce the availability of fresh, local food in our communities, and have negative consequences for the environment. You can voice your opposition to the Food Safety Modernization Act by signing the petition at farmaid.org.
The first major overhaul of food-handling practices in the United States since 1938, the new legislation was created in response to a rise in food-borne illness cases and passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in 2011. The Food Safety Modernization Act establishes standards for growing, harvesting, packing, and holding produce for human consumption. The proposed standards are designed to prevent food safety problems, detect and respond to food safety issues, and improve the safety of imported foods by focusing on commonly identified routes of microbial contamination of produce, including agricultural water, farm worker hygiene, manure and other additions to the soil, animals in growing areas, and equipment and buildings.
Unfortunately, the livelihood and future of small family farms is at stake under the new farm bill. In addition to limiting access to locally grown food, compliance with the new protocols will likely threaten wildlife habitats and increase in the use chemicals rather than natural fertilizers.
The federal Food and Drug Administration is responsible for implementing the legislation that will likely have costly implications for farms with yearly food sales exceeding $500,000. This figure is worrisome because many farms can claim only a small percentage of its annual sales as actual income.
Opponents to the farm bill claim there are many problems with it. Many are frustrated that it does not focus on the parts of the food system that have posed the highest risk to consumers in recent years, such as concentrated animal farmer operations that are well-known sources of environmental pathogens.
According to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the top nine problems with FSMA for farmers and local food businesses are as follows:
Copyright © 2002-2013. All rights reserved