Richard Ha writes:
There is food safety legislation in the pipeline, which would have increased costs to smaller farmers when they are the most vulnerable.
Let’s encourage new and small farmers to become larger farmers. Let’s not kill them off before they can get started.
Remember: Food Security has to do with farmers farming. If farmers make money, farmers will farm.
A revised amendment by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont. (see below), which exempts smaller operations from some requirements under the legislation, was included in the final bill presented for debate. I think this amendment, which helps small farmers, is reasonable.
From today's New York Times:
A Stale Food Fight
By MICHAEL POLLAN and ERIC SCHLOSSER
Published: November 28, 2010
THE best opportunity in a generation to improve the safety of the American food supply will come as early as Monday night, when the Senate is scheduled to vote on the F.D.A. Food Safety Modernization bill. This legislation is by no means perfect. But it promises to achieve several important food safety objectives, greatly benefiting consumers without harming small farmers or local food producers.
Both national produce trade associations and 17 other fruit and vegetable industry groups said, on November 18, that they were forced to oppose the Senate food safety bill because of the Tester language being folded into the main bill.
Tester Amendment – Qualified Exemptions
Food facilities would qualify for an exemption from the preventive control/Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point provisions in section 103 of S. 510 if:
• They are defined as a “very small business” under FDA rule making or under certain conditions:
• The average annual monetary value of all food sold by the facility during the previous three-year period was less than $500,000, if the majority of the food sold by that facility was sold directly to consumers, restaurants or grocery stores in the same state or within 275 miles of the facility. Source: Senate Health Committee
When things go wrong on large, industrial-sized farms, lots of people are affected. If something goes wrong on a tiny farm, few people are affected. We need resilience and redundancy in our food supply; we should not depend on a handful of large farms.
This is why we need to support small farms.