“Food safety bill critics: Small farms could lose”

by Walter Olson on April 26, 2009

Squashed
After you fully discount the chain-email false alarms, you’re left with plenty of well-founded concerns about how small producers would fare under the various food-safety measures before Congress. Farm World:

The public outcry has mostly focused on the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (House Resolution 875), but Kastel [Mark Kastel of the Cornucopia Institute] pointed out that of all the food safety bills currently before Congress, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Globalization Act of 2009 (HR 759) appears to be the one that’s most likely to be voted on, possibly with elements of the other bills incorporated [emphasis added].

Sponsored by Congress’ most senior member, Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), HR 759 amends the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to include provisions governing food safety. The bill provides for an accreditation system for food facilities, and would require written food safety plans and hazard analyses for any facilities that manufacture, process, pack, transport or hold food in the United States.

It also calls for country of origin labeling and science-based minimum standards for harvesting fruits and vegetables, as well as establishing a risk-based inspection schedule for food facilities. …

The [Cornucopia] institute claims the preventative measures [on handling of food on farms] are designed with large-scale producers and processors in mind and “would likely put smaller and organic producers at an economic and competitive disadvantage.”

The American Farm Bureau Federation opposes Dingell’s bill, arguing that improving existing inspection and import methods would be preferable. [Earlier entries in series here, here, and here]

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Nyack News and Views » Left Meets Right in Nyack
04.28.09 at 8:19 am
Death of a Farmer (and your food freedom too)
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{ 4 comments }

1 Doug 04.26.09 at 9:02 am

Bingo, improving food safety inspection using the laws we have now would be better, its a system that everyone from inspectors to produces to packers understands. But they don’t understand politics. Its all about getting your name on a bill, becoming known for “helping” people, showing you “care”, and ignoring the people that the law would affect.

2 rxc 04.27.09 at 9:53 am

In all of the comments about how this bill will allow the large producers to dominate the smaller ones, no one has realized that it would allow the govt to decide that organic production is the only appropriate method, and insist that organic standards be followed. They could also insist that no mechanized methods be used, instead moving back to animals(horrors) or even humans, driving the unban masses back to the farms, ala Cambodia. Not to say that this would not provoke a backlash, but this could set a legal standard for someone to try to implement…

3 Mark Biggar 04.27.09 at 2:54 pm

>The bill provides for an accreditation system for food facilities, and
>would require written food safety plans and hazard analyses for any
>facilities that manufacture, process, pack, transport or hold food in the
>United States.

Notice that unless explicitly excluded this includes every private home kitchen in the country. Also Lemon-aide stands, office break rooms and the coffee table at your church.

4 Vines & Cattle 04.27.09 at 5:36 pm

It’s basically the Patriot Act for food, a bill whose ramifications for food production will still be felt years from now, and most Americans won’t realize where it all went wrong.

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