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FDA unleashes despotic food safety war targeting organic farms

Wednesday, March 05, 2014 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: FDA, organic farms, food safety war

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(NaturalNews) The provisions guiding the infamous Food Safety Modernization Act are slowly starting to come into effect, and many small-scale farmers across the United States are discovering that they are the primary targets of an oppressive new food safety war being waged by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) against America's food producers.

The Los Angeles Times reports that federal agents are now showing up on farmers' doorsteps and notifying them that techniques they have long used to grow clean, healthy food will soon be prohibited under federal law. Such techniques include using compost and recycled animal waste to fertilize crops, as well as irrigating from open creeks and streams.

Organic growers reportedly have it the worst, as the FDA's short-sighted food safety guidelines specifically target organic growing methods as "dangerous" while favoring industrial-scale food production methods. Not only will organic farmers now be prohibited from using house-made fertilizers, but they will also have to stop tilling their cropland with grazing animals.

"The consumer groups behind this don't understand farming," stated Dave Runsten, policy director for the Davis, California-based Community Alliance with Family Farmers, about the new restrictions, noting that many small-scale organic farmers will eventually be driven out of business by this food freedom assault.

"They talk out of both sides of their mouth. They demand these one-size-fits-all regulations, then say, 'I don't want to hurt those cute little farmers at the farmers market. I shop at the farmers market.' It is frustrating."

Low-margin farmers will see their businesses decimated due to new FDA rules

Jim Crawford of New Morning Farm in Hustontown, Pennsylvania, is one of many small-scale farmers threatened by the new rules, which were lorded over him recently by an FDA inspector who brazenly showed up unannounced at his doorstep. Crawford has long used the manure from his 300 chickens to fertilize his food crops, something which the FDA now considers to be a public health threat.

Other small-scale farmers like Judith Redmond of Full Belly Farm, a 350-acre organic farm located in northern California's Capay Valley, have also been backed into a corner by the new rules. Like New Morning Farm, Full Belly Farm relies on chemical-free growing techniques, such as using compost for fertilizer, that will be heavily restricted under the new rules, making it impossible for many smaller producers to comply.

"We think they should be encouraging people to use compost," says Redmond, noting that composting has been used for centuries to grow crops without issue. "To consider it dangerous or potentially harboring pathogens is the wrong message to be sending."

Crawford, Redmond and many others are urging the FDA to reevaluate its food safety guidelines in light of these predicaments, which could spell the end of non-corporate farming in the U.S. if enforced. Despite what groups like the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) are saying in favor of the new rules -- CSPI thinks small-scale farmers should just buck up and change their ways -- FDA interference in farming will only further decimate an industry that is already struggling for survival.

"The public loves to love and idealize us little family farmers," adds Crawford. "But the vast majority of us are hanging by a thread. Now, the government is saying, 'We are going to put a lot more weight on that thread.'"

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