Monday, August 17, 2009

S 510

The new bill to oppose is Senete Bill 510, the sister to HB 2749 The Food Safety Modernization Act. Fight for your right to artesional cheeses and pastas, and home produced bakery goods, jams, and jellies.

Check out this from the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund.

Here are the main talking points they outline...
  • Talking Points (note: these same problems are also found in HR 2749)
    Food safety problems lie with the industrial food processors and food imports, not with local producers. FDA should not be given any additional regulatory power over the local food system than what the agency has at present.
  • S.510 calls for federal regulation of how farmers grow and harvest product. Farmers selling food directly to local markets are inherently transparent and accountable to their customers, and there is no reason to impose these regulations on them. Based on FDA's track record, it is likely that such rules will also discriminate against diversified sustainable farms that produce animals and crops in complementary systems.
  • S.510 expands FDA's powers over food processors, regardless of their size, scale, or distribution. FDA oversight of small, local food processors is overreaching and unnecessary. Small processors selling into local markets do not need federal oversight, unlike the large, industrial, multi-sourced supply chains that are the cause of most foodborne illnesses and food recalls.
  • S.510 applies a complex Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system to even the smallest local processors, imposing onerous paperwork and record-keeping on these small businesses. Applying a HACCP system to local foods facilities processing for local markets, as well as farmers making value-added products, could undermine and extinguish these emerging small businesses attempting to bring healthy local foods to American consumers.
  • In fact, when HAACP was applied to the meat packing industry, it was instrumental in reducing the number of smaller regional and local meat packers, yet failed to increase the number of independent, objective inspectors in giant meat slaughtering and packing facilities.
  • Bottom line: One size does not fit all when considering food safety bills! Local foods businesses are not the same as animal factories or mega-farms that sell products into industrial scale national and international markets, and should not be regulated the same way!

Bottom line... I will post more on my thoughts on the real bottom line of this law later this week. We still have time to help oppose this, but they will try to push it through while they think no one is paying attention, and everyone is looking at healthcare, cap&trade, and immigration.

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