5 Favorite Fruits and Veggies That Could Vanish if the FDA Has its Way

Get ready to say goodbye to those organic veggies and fruits from your favorite farmers market or CSA if a new food law, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), goes into effect as currently written.

FSMA was enacted by Congress in 2010. According to the†U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the law “aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.” Clearly this is a goal that we can all get behind, and we applaud the notion of FSMA being able to help prevent the outbreaks of food-borne illnesses that are becoming more frequent.

Over the past two decades, the number of farmers markets in America has quadrupled to 8,144. At the same time, supermarkets, restaurants, schools, hospitals and other wholesale buyers are increasingly using food they procured from local farmers, which is great news. This is fresh produce generally grown without pesticides, herbicides or GMO seeds.

However, those new food safety rules may actually put a halt to some of our healthy eating habits. That is, if the regulations take effect as currently written. Citizens still have time to voice their concerns, as the FDA is currently taking comments through Friday, November 15.

The problem is the impact of the proposed rules on small farms. The FDA rules may drive some farms out of business because those with less than $500,000 in sales that sell mostly to commercial customers would have to pay four to six percent of their gross revenue to comply with the new regulations.

How can this be happening? The answer is depressingly familiar, as†truthout explains:

First, it is partially due to corporate profit. Corporations depend on a global supply chain, and in doing so they are finding it increasingly difficult to deliver safe food. At the same time they are losing market share to the local food systems that customers are demandingówitness the sharp increase in farmers markets, community supported agriculture (CSAs), and restaurants offering “farm to fork” menus. To avoid legal liability, the corporations want to legitimize an industrial approach to sterilizing everything, without regard to the unnecessary and costly burden placed on local farmers.


And, finally, there is this Administration’s commitment to the bio-tech industry. It’s no accident that FDA’s deputy commissioner responsible for food safety, Michael R. Taylor, is a former Monsanto Vice President. That partially explains why the “safe food” mandate does nothing to protect us from genetically engineered food, and the harsh chemicals that are necessarily paired with it.

Here’s a sampling of what could disappear if the FDA has its way:

1. Your Favorite Heirloom Tomatoes: The new rules could cost farmers over half of their profits and will keep beginners from starting to farm.
 As a result of the high costs of compliance for both the†Produce and Preventive Controls Rules, FDA anticipates that some farmers will go out of business and fewer people will start to farm.

2.† Locally Grown Peppers: Although the rules set modified requirements for small and very small businesses, the FDA has not settled on a definition for “very small business” and has presented only unrealistic options. This means that thousands of farms could be regulated like big industrial food manufacturers, and small operations could be regulated with compliance costs too high for them to stay in business.

3.† Fresh Strawberries: It will be hard for mid-size farms to diversify their operations because all food grown on the farm counts toward the $500,000 income eligibility test, including covered crops like strawberries. So a small pick-your-own strawberry operation on a 800-acre corn and soybean farm, bringing in $25,000, could be subject to the same expensive, burdensome requirements as California’s†mega-scale packaged berry industry.

4.† Pickles and Salsa: The rules fail to protect a host of low-risk processing activities done by smaller farms and processors, including the making of pickles and salsa. Farmers adding value to their crops through this processing would be subject to the same regulations as high-risk processing activities by large corporations.

5. Spring Apples: Another problem is that the rules will make it extremely difficult for farmers to use†compost and manures as fertilizer. These natural systems are extremely important for organic and sustainable farmers and the new rules would stop most farmers from utilizing them.

Contact the FDA before the end of the day on Friday, November 15 to voice your concern over these potentially devastating regulations.

Photo Credits: Thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for the article.

Judith C.
Judith C2 years ago


Barry T.
Barry AWAY T3 years ago

There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party ... and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt—until recently ... and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties.

- Gore Vidal

Barry T.
Barry AWAY T3 years ago

And who appointed Michael Taylor to his position with the FDA?

Barrack Obama.

This is the same guy who filled his administration half-full of other Monsanto types - and the other half with Goldman Sachs folks.

This is the same man whose election slogan was, I think, "Change you can believe in". Should have been "Change you can fantasize about".

Is he better than the Republican alternative? Sure. Id there any device capable of measuring the difference, that is quantifying how much better?

I doubt it.

A Democratic administration isn't what's going to save the day.

What we need is for the walls to come crumbling down.

Panchali Yapa
Panchali Yapa3 years ago

Interesting. Thank you

Kay m
Kay M3 years ago

Thank you Judy for a very important article about a subject that is near and dear to my heart, the small local farmers, that have started up since Katrina, We here in New Orleans and the surrounding parishes have started to use land that has been abandoned and not used, for schools and neighbors to make gardens. Every week or two they gather and sell what produce they can use themselves. We are seeing fruits and veggies, that we have never seen before, some families from Cajun country and some from Viet Nam have grown things that are native to their culture and now sharing it with all of us. It is great and should be encouraged. Not penalized. We need more individuals to get involved with growing food for themselves and others, and thanks to the over 367 care 2 members who commented on this subject I am going to enjoy reading all of them.

Kathryn Pierce
Kathryn Pierce3 years ago

I clicked on the link ( the firs link is broken), and went to a page that was titled "how to comment on the HFSA," but I couldn't find a way to comment online. IT said to send an letter to the FDA, and gave the address. I guess I'll do that, but itwould e better if you had a petitiaon to send them comments.

William Eaves
William Eaves3 years ago

Don't these idiots realise that most harmful products found in food come from food produced by large commercial companies that are more interested in profit than quality. Why does the US want to promote bland mass produced garbage over real food ?

Tammy D.
Tammy D3 years ago

Does anyone else just stop and think that the USA is totally and completely screwed? Unfortunately, that includes all the people, creatures and environment too. I mean, it is just one story after another, one bill skewered, workers getting poorer, jobs drying up, regulations for ovaries but not for corporations, more animals in captivity than in the wild, hydraulic fracking in state and national park lands, products decreasing in quality but increasing in price, most goods made far away, and everyone consuming, consuming, consuming. With a green wash, a pink wash, whatever, still consuming. Bigger, better, faster, happier, fitter...........

I'm not alone, am I?

Ulli W.
Ulli w3 years ago

another initiative with the same goal: