Originally published September 18 2013
Take action to block the FDA's imprisonment of free-range chicken
by Thomas Henry
(NaturalNews) In the name of protecting the public against the spread of E. coli and salmonella, the Food Safety Modernization Act was passed into law January 4, 2011. But in reality, the law gives the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sweeping new powers to regulate and shut down farms of all sizes.
Worse, the food safety law is likely to undermine many small and medium-sized farms, including many family farms and organic producers, while favoring large-scale factory farms and imported, essentially unregulated foreign producers, a negative impact that even the FDA has acknowledged.
Specifically, these new rules, as currently written, will force free-range egg producers to imprison their flocks in indoor houses, or face economic devastation.
That's why the Cornucopia Institute is organizing a grassroots campaign to oppose new FDA rules set to be finalized after an extended comment period.
If you want to defend food freedom and the access to safer and more nutritious eggs, please take the time to physically mail in their proxy letter and write in your comments on the back to let the FDA know that real people demand real food safety!
It is estimated that complying with these burdensome, bureaucratic regulations could cost small farms as much as $12,000 per year, even as many of the policies fly in the face of common sense and actually endanger food safety.
Farmers and food producers who would be hurt by these policies could be especially impactful if they write in their concerns during the next few weeks while the FDA is still taking the required public commentary.
Read the letter and consider signing it at:
The policies laid down in the FDA's draft guidance - which will be enforced as law unless enough public pressure is created to change it - creates particularly troublesome standards for egg production, and will actually make salmonella contamination more likely.
Shockingly, it allows indoor, caged housings to qualify for the "outdoor access" required for "organic" egg production by providing a tiny porch area attached to the building that is only large enough to hold a small percentage of the total flock and keeps most of the chickens confined inside year round. These conditions promote, not prevent, the dangerous spread of salmonella in the food supply. The 2010 salmonella outbreak that led to this new egg guidance rule traced back to factory farms practicing these kinds of crowded and unsanitary conditions.
Instead, the pending FDA policy focuses on mitigating some of the least likely factors for contamination, and imposes crushing requirements.
The FDA is set to require organic farmers and small-scale operations who allow their chickens truly cage free, roaming access year round to put costly netting over the entire area to prevent or limit contact with wild birds. As the Cornucopia Institute points out, these burdens "will push organic farmers toward the 'Indoor Area with Porch' model" that the FDA allows as one of its four housing styles.
The FDA erroneously focuses on wild birds as a significant factor despite scientific data showing that free range chickens with constant outdoor access are at the least risk for salmonella. A study commissioned by the European Food Safety Authority reported that "cage production was found to be associated with a higher risk of salmonella contamination than other production types, including organic and free range."
The FDA has officially stated its commitment to avoid interfering with farmers' ability to meet federal requirements for organic standards; however, through "regulatory sleight-of-hand," as Mark Kastel, co-founder of the Cornucopia Institute, terms it, egg guidance policies would do just that. Kastel points out in his researched comments to the FDA:
"We believe that organic egg producers who only provide porches as 'outdoor access' to a small percentage of their hens are violating the organic standards. We object to the FDA's determination that porches are 'outdoor access,' and urge the FDA to delete the 'Indoor Area with Porch' as one of the four housing styles acceptable for organic production," Kastel wrote, warning that such a policy is "in violation of both the letter and spirit of the organic law and regulations and will likely lead to a protracted legal battle."
TAKE ACTION NOW to support organic and free range eggs, and prevent the FDA from stifling small and medium scale farming business.
Read more about this grassroots action alert to protect free range egg producers and healthy organic foods at:
Read about the FDA's implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act at:
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