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Beware the Food Safety Modernization Bill in the Senate, please act for the protection of our small farms!

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Message Lora Chamberlain

Briefing on the "produce standards" under S. 510

Take Action

Contact both of your U.S. Senators and ask them to suppport he Tester-Hagan Amendmentsto:
(a) exempt farmers selling directly to consumers, and
(b) exempt small-scale processors.

To find out who your Senators are, go to www.congress.org or call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

Spread the word in your community! You can download a flyer here

Read more! Kimberly Hartke has collected articles by a wide range of people writing about the food safety bills.

Get ideas for talking points from FARFA's position statement on food safety

TALKING POINTS

1. 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 the same, broad federal regulatory oversight that would apply to the industrial food system. Increased regulations, record-keeping obligations, and the penalties and fees could destroy small businesses that bring food to local communities.

2. FDA regulation of local food processors is unnecessary and burdensome. Federal regulations may be needed for industrial processors that get 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. Existing state and local public health laws are sufficient for local food sources.

3. Relying on HACCP will not make food safer 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. Although the concept of preventative controls is a good one, the federal agencies' implementation of HACCP has already 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.

4. S. 510 puts FDA on the farm by calling 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.

5. S. 510 favors foreign farms and producers over domestic. It creates incentives for retailers to import more food from other countries, by burdening domestic producers with requirements that, in practice, will not be equally enforced on foreign producers. The bill will create a significant competitive disadvantage for ALL U.S. agriculture and food production.

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Dr. Lora Chamberlain is a voting activist in the Pacific Northwest.
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