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Urge Congress to Amend SB 510 to Protect Local Farms

Wednesday, November 25, 2009 by: Ethan Huff
Tags: food safety, local farms, health news

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(NewsTarget) Senate Bill 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, is scheduled for committee vote on Wednesday, November 18, and provisions to protect small-scale organic and family farms are missing from the bill. The Cornucopia Institute is urging all concerned citizens to contact their Senators immediately to demand that an appropriate amendment be added to the bill.

A House of Representatives version of the bill that passed in July, the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 (HR 2749), was a compilation of several other proposed House bills before it that aimed to address food safety failures. SB 510 is the Senate version of the bill that must be passed in order to eventually get a final bill signed into law.

SB 510 provisions for an FDA crackdown on food safety regulations, but like its predecessor in the House, it fails to protect local, organic food which would be subjected to a one-size-fits-all set of provisions that would put many small farmers out of business. Designed for large-scale operations, the extensive record-keeping mandates and high fees alone threaten the existence of local food.

The Cornucopia Institute is urging the public to immediately contact the Senate Committee members and urge them to implement provisions into the bill that protect local and small-scale farmers.

Local food, organic in particular, is already producing safe, clean food above and beyond existing standards. These producers should not have to abide by regulations designed to address the failures of industry-scale farming operations which are the real perpetrators of unsafe, contaminated food.

The primary points that must be addressed by the Senate committee include:

1. Regulatory standards and requirements must take into account the level of risk involved with each individual operation. Small, local farms bear the lowest food safety risk while large-scale factory farm operations carry the largest food safety risk. Thus a customized approach to regulatory standards is appropriate in order not to disadvantage small-scale farmers with excessive and unnecessary burdens.
2. Whatever safety guidelines are implemented, they must coincide with existing organic standards so as not to place organic certification requirements in conflict with new food safety rules.
3. Encourage farmers to implement environmental conservation practices on their farms in order to reduce the likelihood of contamination with food-borne pathogens. The safety bill should ultimately harmonize with existing environmental and wildlife standards.

Contact information for the members of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee can be found at the Cornucopia Institute`s SB 510 Action Alert page.

Sources:

Action Alert: Senate Bill 510: FDA Food Safety Modernization Act - The Cornucopia Institute

SB 510: A Food "Safety" Bill or Something Else Entirely? - Allvoices.com

HR 2749: Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 - govtrack.us

About the author

Ethan Huff is a freelance writer and health enthusiast who loves exploring the vast world of natural foods and health, digging deep to get to the truth. He runs an online health publication of his own at http://wholesomeherald.blogspot.com.


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