Small Farm Food Safety Action Items
These Small Farm Food Safety Action Items are from the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA), part of NOFA's Leafy Greens Working Group.
Tell Congress to Protect Small Farms and Our Food Supply: A number of produce safety bills are circulating in Congress in the aftermath of the fiasco with peanut paste manufactured at a Georgia factory. Many of these bills would apply a one-size-fits-all approach to protecting our food supply, treating all food sources, including family farms, as major hazards, instead of focusing on the actual, proven risks in our food supply.
CFSA is working with a team of sustainable farming organizations from across the country to develop a coordinated response to these competing bills, one that protects our food supply and family-scale, sustainable agriculture.
Look for a followup from CFSA on this issue.
For now, what you can do is call your Congress member and Senators and them them that any produce safety bill MUST BE:
* Scale-appropriate. Federal law should support producers at each level, not impose a one-size-fits-all approach that runs small farms and farmers markets out of business.
* Risk-based. Measures to mitigate produce safety risk or to implement safety solutions must be based on actual risk assessments for different products and scales of farms, not assumptions based on an industrial food model.
* Science-based. Specific measures to mitigate produce safety risk or specific metrics included in produce safety solutions, must be based on sound science, specific to the growing conditions on individual farms. Funding research to develop a science-based approach to on-farm produce safety should be a priority
* Provide tiered compliance alternatives. Compliance with produce safety measures should be tiered to reflect farm size, market served and risk, for instance, a 2-acre fruit and vegetable producer selling exclusively through farmers markets or CSAs within 50 miles of the farm vs. a several hundred acre producer shipping produce to multiple outlets in multiple states. A tiered compliance program would include training on on-farm produce safety for all producers, with larger producers choosing to comply with more rigorous certifications to meet buyer specifications, not federally-mandated standards.
* Focused on education, not regulation. On-farm food safety should center around education and incentives rather than mandated regulations with punitive measures for non-compliance.
To find your Senators and Congress member, go to http://www.house.gov/, and www.senate.gov ; both sites have a tool at the top of the page to locate your representatives. When you call, ask to speak to the staffer that handles agriculture issues.
This page was last modified on March 25, 2009 at 7:42:41 PM.
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