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Food Safety Bill Coming to a Senate Near You

The US Senate is due to vote on SB510 in the next few weeks. This bill is similar to one that has already passed in the House of Representatives. But it has many of us involved in local food and small farms worried about its contents. The following is a letter that organizations can sign on to, if they'd like. If you as an individual want to voice your opinion, please contact your own Senate or House Representative and voice those concerns yourself. If you want to sign on to the letter, please contact Judith McGeary. Judith runs Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance and has been a leader in the fight against the National Animal Identification System. She is one of the authors of the letter shown below. Time is of the essence, so spread the word and sign on if you'd like to.


Support Fresh, Safe Local Food in the Food Safety Bill

Dear Senator:

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 food producers.

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 consumers.

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
traceability requirements.

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 Section 204:

(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 105:

(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 sara@worc.org, or Judith McGeary at 512-243-9404 or Judith@FarmaAndRanchFreedom.org.


Dakota Rural Action

Dakota Resource Council

Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance

Idaho Rural Council

Northern Plains Resource Council

Oregon Rural Action

Organic Consumers Association

Powder River Basin Resource Council

Western Colorado Congress

Western Organization of Resource Councils
SmallHolders Alliance of Massachusetts ""

Thanks, Pat

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