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Monday, February 22, 2010

Food Safety Modernization Act

I just received this in my inbox from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and thought I'd pass it on to all my real, local food lovers!


If You Value Safe, Local, and Healthy Food

Please call Senator Gregg!

The Food Safety Modernization Act (S510) now headed for the Senate floor would considerably ramp up FDA regulation on farms that even minimally process their crops and sell them to restaurants, food coops, groceries, schools and wholesalers.

The new regulatory burdens would include recordkeeping, expensive food safety plans, and regular on farm inspections by the FDA. This new regulation could erect substantial barriers to these increasingly important markets for small and mid-scale farmers unable to bear the expense of compliance.

Senator Gregg sits on the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee which has jurisdiction over food safety legislation. He needs to hear your views on this legislation!

Calling your Senator is easy.

Step 1: Call Senator Gregg's office at (202) 224-3324 and ask to speak to the aide responsible for agriculture. If the aide is unavailable leave a brief voice mail message. Be sure to leave your name and a call back number.

Step 2: Urge Senator Gregg to support amendments to S510 which:

Focus FDA regulation only on those processing activities that present the most risk for causing food borne pathogen contamination.
Exempt farms with modest gross sales from new FDA regulation. These farms would still need to register with FDA and would be subject to existing state food safety regulation.

Exempt from recordkeeping requirements foods using labeling which preserves the identity of the farm all the way through the supply chain to the ultimate consumer.
Exempt from recordkeeping requirements food produced on farms and sold directly to a consumer, restaurant or grocery store.

Co-sponsor the Growing Safe Food Act (S. 2758) introduced by Senator Stabenow (D-MI). This bill creates a program to deliver training and technical assistance appropriate to small and mid scale farms to reduce the incidence of food borne illness.

Step 3: Report your call. Click on this link to let us know the results of your call.

With your help, we have already won a number of key changes to this legislation and we will continue to push for improvements. We can't let rules designed to address serious food safety deficiencies in our industrial food system shut down the move toward healthy, natural and local food. Your calls are essential.

If you would like to learn more check out the policy briefing on food safety on the farm.


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