Unless it is amended, the
Food Safety Modernization Act will
regulate our local food sources out of business. As written now, the legislation is a big gift to
the industrial food producers, and a drastic blow against small farms.
So please take steps, ASAP, to tell your senators either to amend
the bill or vote against it.
Here, below Gianni Ortiz's prefatory note, is all you need to
know to take immediate action.
From Gianni Ortiz:
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This bill will be
a disaster for small farms unless Tester's amendment is included,
which does not cover everything--HACCP, etc. --but does cover
scale appropriateness for many small farm products and sales.If
you have never taken action before, please show up for this piece of
legislation. It is on the floor and will come to a vote
probablyas soon as next week, as soon as the 'financial reform'
bill is voted on.
Please pass this
on to anyone whocares aboutreal food, small farms or
the environment. This has to be a very big noise and we can't do it
without you. If you have never contacted your senator,
it only takes a
moment-and such calls and faxes are actually counted and do make a
difference, please so do both. I have been remiss in these
communications of late - my apologies - also for any cross postings -
very, very, verybusy.
The irony is that
I am working on an exchange program between France and our Hudson
Valley farmers/artesianal producers and it will not happen if the
French farmers and artesianal food producers will need to meet our
USDA/FDA standards in order to bring their products into this country.
They simply refuse because they know that the flavor and specialness
of their 'place' will be wiped out with required
standardby the US in order to get their acclaimed, safe,
regionalfoods into the country in order to sharetheir
success stories with us.
talking points below for those who are new or not-totally-comfortable
with the process. It is very easy to use the fax or email option. If
you are part of an organization please consider signing on to the
letter and passing along- and thanks very much!
The timing of the food safety bill is still unclear, but it seems
pretty certainthat it will NOT be heard this week.
We faxed the updated letter (with 103 signatories) to the
Senators on Thursday. Given the additional time, we will
continue collecting signatures, so please continue to reach out to
other groups and networks that you know.
The bill is expected to come to the floor early next week, so we
are in the final push.
1) Please send out an action alert to your members.
We need calls coming in to the Senators all over the country.
2) Make sure your Senators' staff have seen the letter -
please email it to them and follow up with a call to make sure they
notice that your organization is listed.
3) Attached is a Q&A sheet put together by WORC and
FARFA, in response to the questions we've heard most often from
staffers. Feel free to share it with your Senators' staff.
Sample action alert:
The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on a sweeping overhaul of the
food safety laws very soon! As it is currently written, the
bill, S. 510, will actually make our food less safe. S. 510 will
strengthen the forces that have led to the consolidation of our food
supply in the hands of a few industrial food producers, while harming
small producers who give consumers the choice to buy fresh, healthy,
Please contact your Senators NOW to urge them to amend or oppose
the bill! Contact information and talking points are
Congress needs to solve the real problems - the centralized
food distribution system and imported foods - and not regulate our
local food sources out of business. S. 510 is a
"one-size-fits-all" approach that will unnecessarily burden both
farmers and small-scale food processors, ultimately depriving
consumers of the choice to buy from producers they know and
Call both of your Senators. You can find their contact
information at www.Senate.gov
call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 or toll-free at
877-210-5351. Ask to speak with the staffer who handles food
Tell the staffer that you want the Senator to support Senator
Tester's amendments to S.510. If you get their voice mail
instead of the staff, leave the following message:
"Hi, my name is _____ and I live in ______. I'm very
concerned that S.510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, imposes
unfair and burdensome regulations on local food sources, which are
very important to me. I urge the Senator to support the Tester
Amendments to exclude small facilities and direct marketing farms from
the most burdensome provisions of the bill. Please call me back
1.The major foodborne illness outbreaks and recalls have all
been caused by the large, industrial food system. Small,
local food producers have not contributed to the highly publicized
outbreaks. Yet S. 510 subjects the small, local food system to the
same, broad federal regulatory oversight that would apply to the
industrial food system.
2.Increased regulations and record-keeping obligations
could destroy small businesses that bring food to local
communities. In particular, the reliance on hazard analysis and
risk-based preventative controls, a concept similar to "HACCP",
will harm small food producers. HACCP has already proven to be
an overwhelming burden for a significant number of small, regional
meat processors across the country. Applying a HACCP-type system
to small, local foods processors could drive them out of business,
reducing consumers' options to buy fresh, local foods.
3.FDA does not belong 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.
4.Food safety and security both come from a diversified,
vibrant local food system. Local foods give consumers the
choice to buy from producers they know, creating a transparent,
accountable food system without federal government oversight.
State and local laws, which are often size-specific rather than
one-size-fits-all, are more appropriate for local food
Support Fresh, Safe Local Food in the Food
The undersigned organizations represent consumers, small farmers and
ranchers, and local food producers who have serious concerns over the
pending food safety legislation, S.510, the Food Safety Modernization
Act. We urge you to support amendments so as to improve food safety
without unnecessarily burdening and handicapping small-scale, local
All of the well-publicized incidents of contamination in recent years
- whether in spinach, peppers, or peanuts - occurred in
industrialized food supply chains that span national and even
international boundaries. The food safety problems in this system can
and should be addressed without harming the local food systems that
provide an alternative for consumers.
The growing trend toward healthy, fresh, locally sourced vegetables,
fruit, dairy, and value-added products *improves *food safety by
providing the opportunity for consumers to know their farmers and
processors, to choose products on the basis of that relationship, and
to readily trace any problems should they occur.
Farmers and processors who sell directly to consumers and end users
have a direct relationship with their customers that ensures quality,
safety, transparency and accountability. In addition, small-scale food
producers are already regulated by local and state authorities, and
the potential risk their products pose is inherently limited by their
size. For these farmers and processors, new federal requirements are
unnecessary and would simply harm both the food producers and their
Although the Committee-passed bill includes some provisions for
flexibility for small and diversified producers, S. 510 still would
establish new hazardous analysis and risk-based preventive controls
for all facilities and authorize FDA to dictate growing and harvesting
practices for produce. These requirements will impose significant
expenses and burdens on individuals and small businesses.
Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls
We therefore urge you to support Senator Tester's amendment to
exempt small, local processing facilities from the bill's hazard
analysis and risk-based preventive controls requirements and
1) With respect to the hazard analysis and risk-based preventive
controls, add the following new section to Section 103:
(l) EXEMPTION FOR CERTAIN FACILITIES - This section
shall not apply to a facility for a year if the average annual
adjusted gross income of such facility for the previous three-year
period was less than $500,000.
2) With respect to traceability, add the following new section to
(f) EXEMPTION FOR CERTAIN FACILITIES - The traceback and
recordkeeping requirements under this section shall not apply to a
facility for a year if the adjusted gross income of such facility for
the previous year was less than $500,000.
FDA Produce Standards
We also request that you consider an amendment to exempt
direct-marketing farms from the FDA produce standards. With respect to
the produce standards, add the following new section to Section
(g) EXEMPTION FOR DIRECT MARKET FARMS - This section shall not apply
to farms whose annual value of sales of food products directly to
consumers, hotels, restaurants, or institutions exceeds the annual
value of sales of food products to all other buyers.
Food safety is a priority for us all. We share the concerns that have
led to this bill and appreciate Congress's commitment to addressing
these problems. Thank you for your consideration, and for your support
of a safer, more sustainable food system and consumer access to
healthy, local foods.
For more information, contact Sara Kendall at 202-547-7040 or firstname.lastname@example.org
or Judith McGeary at
512-243-9404 or Judith@FarmaAndRanchFreedom.org