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Food Safety Bill Remains in Limbo: Act Now to Save Local Food Security


Green Lifestyle  (tags: Food safety, food policy, urban agriculture, back to basics, local food is food security!, sustainability )

Donna
- 2604 days ago - bit.ly
Act now to save local food security.



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Comments

Past Member (0)
Saturday October 2, 2010, 5:39 pm
How many times will this hoax be posted. It simply requires sellers of food to follow certain guidelines, like not using fresh human excrement for fertilizer. http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/organic.asp
Official Summary
3/3/2009--Introduced.FDA Food Safety Modernization Act - Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) to expand the authority of the Secretary of Health and Human Services (the Secretary) to regulate food, including by authorizing the Secretary to suspend the registration of a food facility. Requires each food facility to evaluate hazards and implement preventive controls. Directs the Secretary to assess and collect fees related to:
(1) food facility reinspection;
(2) food recalls; and
(3) the voluntary qualified importer program. Requires the Secretary and the Secretary of Agriculture to prepare the National Agriculture and Food Defense Strategy. Requires the Secretary to:
(1) identify preventive programs and practices to promote the safety and security of food;
(2) promulgate regulations on sanitary food transportation practices;
(3) develop a policy to manage the risk of food allergy and anaphylaxis in schools and early childhood education programs;
(4) allocate inspection resources based on the risk profile of food facilities or food;
(5) recognize bodies that accredit food testing laboratories; and
(6) improve the capacity of the Secretary to track and trace raw agricultural commodities. Requires the Secretary, acting through the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to enhance foodborne illness surveillance systems. Authorizes the Secretary to order an immediate cessation of distribution, or a recall, of food. Requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assist state, local, and tribal governments in preparing for, assessing, decontaminating, and recovering from an agriculture or food emergency. Provides for:
(1) foreign supplier verification activities;
(2) a voluntary qualified importer program; and
(3) the inspection of foreign facilities registered to import food.
http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-s510/sho...

 

Urban A. (0)
Sunday October 3, 2010, 9:49 am
The issues concerning local small scale production are real. This is no hoax and your urgent action is needed. The Senate will likely consider S 510 (the Senate companion to HR 875) when they return, please ask your Senators to amend the bill to include the Tester-Hagen amendment to protect small farmers.

The Snopes article above (http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/organic.asp) recommends the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund web site as an unbiased source of information (http://www.ftcldf.org/news/news-02mar2009.htm). They oppose this bill: "It needs to be stopped. Anyone who values freedom of food choice and the rights and independence of small farmers should contact their elected representatives and the members of the two committees to ask that they oppose HR 875. "

Please visit the OpenCongress site (http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-s510/show), you can see which businesses are supporting this legislation and if you want you can read the 278 page bill. Of the more than 490 people who have commented at OpenCongress on the bill 86% oppose it.

Many groups supporting small scale farming oppose this bill, check out the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance web site for more information (http://farmandranchfreedom.org/food_safety_bills_09). You can download the letter they sent to the Senate signed by more than 150 groups who support local food. Look for "Read our letter to the Senate, signed by 157 organizations, supporting the Tester-Hagan amendments" found on the previous web page, or using this link: (http://farmandranchfreedom.org/sites/farmandranchfreedom.org/files/Amend-S510-June-7.pdf)

 

Judith H (27)
Monday October 4, 2010, 12:53 pm
I opose anything that takes away from the 'small' guy and gives to the 'big' guy
 

Teresa K (33)
Monday October 4, 2010, 3:48 pm
Noted and thanks!
 

Charlene Rush (2)
Monday October 4, 2010, 7:42 pm
The money is so available and there for the taking. Our government officials cannot or will not avoid the temptation. Small businesses and farms have very little chance.
 

Mary Donnelly (47)
Monday October 4, 2010, 9:21 pm
Thanks for post.
 

Catherine Turley (192)
Monday October 4, 2010, 9:37 pm
hello long beach from orange! when you hold small farms to the same standards as industrial farms, small farms go out of business. there must be a distinction.
 

Ken Bachtold B (0)
Tuesday October 5, 2010, 1:16 am
That post that listed what the bill will do is staggering - and probably covers numerous biases against small farmers! Also, the "Secretary" will probably aid Big Farma and otherwise do nothing - just like the FDA and all the other agencies. From what I gather reading here and there this is a play to put the small farmers OUT OF BUSINESS! It's like most Republican bills, i.e., "The Defense of Motherhood" bill which in fact means the orgainzed killing of mothers!!!!!!
 

Donna Marykwas, Ph.D. (1)
Tuesday October 5, 2010, 7:58 am
Thanks for all of your feedback. Maybe after reading the article, you might post (here or on examiner) how the pending food safety bill might affect you? Here in Long Beach our new urban farm projects might be "outlawed" before they ever really take off. :(
 

. (0)
Tuesday October 5, 2010, 9:15 am
Hoax, or no Hoax We have the right to have safe, fresh food and farms that produce them.
 

Carol H (229)
Tuesday October 5, 2010, 11:33 am
Noted with thanks!
 

April Thompson (2)
Tuesday October 5, 2010, 11:53 am
Back to basics and natural foods- hell, yes!!
 

Michael B. (0)
Tuesday October 5, 2010, 12:10 pm
This bill protects small farms.

http://thehill.com/images/stories/blogs/smallfarms.pdf

Sign SlowFoodUSA's petition to pass S. 510: http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5986/p/salsa/web/common/public/signup?signup_page_KEY=2652
 

Jennifer M (78)
Tuesday October 5, 2010, 12:20 pm
I wish I never had to eat...
 

(0)
Tuesday October 5, 2010, 12:51 pm
noted
 

Kathy B (106)
Tuesday October 5, 2010, 12:59 pm
Nance, Snopes isn't really that reliable, their information is only as good as anyone else's on the internet, because that's where they get their information. When you've heard it from numerous other reliable sources besides Snopes, then maybe you can call it a hoax. Snopes also tends to be a little biased at times (IMHO).
 

moggy w (119)
Tuesday October 5, 2010, 2:28 pm
most of our food here in urban North comes from big farms. their money and power has driven small farms out of business. There MUST be laws to enforce common sense regulations for the food we eat. I admit I don't understand most of it, but providing clean and safe conditions to grow food should be common sense.
 

Charmaine C (177)
Tuesday October 5, 2010, 3:19 pm
Perhaps someone should post the salient points of bill S510 since there seems to be confusion. I do believe this is important? Thanks for the post.
 

Urban A. (0)
Tuesday October 5, 2010, 3:38 pm
SlowFoodUSA supports the Tester-Hagen amendment to S 501 to protect small farmers, because without the amendment this bill will hurt small farmers.

From the SlowFoodUSA petition web site: (http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5986/p/salsa/web/common/public/signup?signup_page_KEY=2652) *We need a Food Safety Bill that cracks down on corporate bad actors without hurting family farms and the healthy food movement. That’s why we support the Tester Amendment to S 510 to exempt small farm and food facilities and farmers who directly market their products to consumers, stores or restaurants. (emphasis added).

Signing this petition is one way to help pass the Tester-Hagen amendment, better yet call your Senator.


 

Lionel G. (4)
Tuesday October 5, 2010, 6:49 pm
Many studies show family farms are more efficient than agribiz. Let's put people back on the land as stewards of the earth. Yes, that's a tall order. The industrial revolution may be turning out to be the worst disaster in human history. Corporations don't have consciences. If destroying the future of life maximizes this quarter's bottom line, they will destroy the future. that debate is raging now: Industry against life.
 

Aletta Kraan (146)
Tuesday October 5, 2010, 7:21 pm
Noted , thanks !!!
 

Jere W (9)
Wednesday October 6, 2010, 8:43 am
Noted thanks
 

Urban A. (0)
Wednesday October 6, 2010, 12:19 pm
As requested, the salient points of bill S510:

The Senate is considering a bill, S.510, that would make broad changes to food safety regulation in this country. Unfortunately, in the effort to address the problems in the industrialized food supply, the bill threatens to harm the small, local food producers who provide an alternative for consumers.

The growing trend toward healthy, fresh, locally sourced vegetables, fruit, dairy, and value-added products improves food safety by providing the opportunity for consumers to know their farmers and processors, to choose products on the basis of that relationship, and to readily trace any problems should they occur.

Although S. 510 includes some provisions for flexibility for small and diversified producers and processors, the bill’s new hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls would affect these facilities and authorize FDA to dictate growing and harvesting practices for produce. These requirements will impose significant expenses and burdens on individuals and small businesses.

Below are answers to some of the frequently asked questions.

QUESTION: What would S.510 do to farmers?

S.510 authorizes FDA to issue standards for production and harvesting of fruits and vegetables. Given the agency’s track record, it is likely that the regulations will discriminate against small, organic, and diversified farms. While the bill directs FDA to consider the impact of its rulemaking on small-scale and diversified farms, there are few enforceable limits to protect small, sustainable farms from inappropriate and burdensome federal rules.

The only enforceable limit is that FDA's new regulations cannot contradict the regulations for certified organic producers. But many local food producers are not certified organic. And even certified organic can still be subject to additional regulations by FDA imposing impractical or unfair burdens, so long as the regulations don’t directly contradict the organic regulations.

The Tester-Hagan amendment would exempt farms that have gross sales under $500,000 and that sell more than half of their produce directly to consumers and other “qualified end users” such as local restaurants and local stores.

QUESTION: Are direct marketing farms exempt from the bill?

No, direct-marketing farmers are not exempt from the produce safety standards. Under the bill as currently written, all farmers raising produce are subject to the produce safety standards (section 105 of the bill), regardless of how they market their fruits and vegetables.

The Tester-Hagan amendment is needed to protect direct marketing produce farmers from being told how to grow and harvest their crops by FDA bureaucrats.

QUESTION: What does S.510 require of people who process food?

Under S.510, anyone who processes food for sale will have to comply with extensive new regulations over every step of its process. This includes people who make such things as jam, bread, and cheese for local markets. S. 510 would require that all facilities would have to comply with a “Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventative Controls,” which would require:

• Hazard analysis: Identify and evaluate known or reasonable hazards and develop written analysis of the hazards.
• Preventive Controls: Identify and implement preventive controls, to provide assurances that hazards indentified will be significantly minimized and prevented.
• Monitor effectiveness of the preventive controls.
• Establish procedures that a facility will implement if the preventive controls are found to be ineffective through monitoring.
• Verify that:
• the preventive controls are adequate.
• Monitoring is in accordance with 103(d).
• The owner is making appropriate decisions about corrective actions under 103(e).
• The preventive controls are effectively and significantly minimizing or preventing the occurrence of identified hazards, including the use of environmental and product testing programs.
• There is documented, periodic reanalysis of the plan to ensure that it is still relevant.
• Recordkeeping: Maintain, for not less than 2 years, records documenting the monitoring of the preventive controls implemented, instances of nonconformance, the results of testing, instances of corrective actions, and the efficacy of preventive controls.
• Written plan and documentation: Prepare a written plan that documents and describes the procedures used by the facility to comply with the requirements of this section, including analyzing the hazards under subsection 103(b) and identifying the preventive controls adopted under subsection 103(c) to address those hazards.

All of this would be subject to FDA approval, inspections, and fees for re-inspection. The paperwork burdens would drive many small-scale processors out of business.

The Tester-Hagan amendment would exempt processors that have gross sales under $500,000 and that sell more than half of their products directly to consumers and other “qualified end users” such as local restaurants and local stores. The amendment also exempts “very small businesses”, to be defined by FDA.
QUESTION: I heard that S.510 doesn’t require anyone to register who isn’t already required to do so. Is that true?

Technically, S.510 does not change the law on registration. But, in practical terms, there are thousands of small-scale processors who are not even aware that they have to register who will now be subject to extensive new requirements.

In 2002, Congress required all food “facilities” to register with the FDA under the Public Health Security and Bioterrrorism Preparedness and Bioterrorism Response Act of 2002. The rationale for such a sweeping federal reach into the smallest of food facilities was national security and bioterrorism.

While S.510 does not add new registration requirements, the reality is that there are many small-scale facilities that have not registered and are probably unaware that they are required to do so. FDA estimates that there are 37,000 facilities that have not yet registered.

In addition, S. 510 superimposes a significant regulatory burden on all of those facilities, regardless of the need from a food safety perspective. It is one thing to require a small-scale processor to register with the FDA; it is entirely different to require that small-scale processor to comply with extensive regulations on every step of its business. Small-scale producer and facilities that sell direct to consumers are inherently transparent and accountable and do not require federal oversight. Such facilities are already sufficiently regulated by state and local authorities.

QUESTION: Are direct marketing food processors exempt from the bill?

It depends. Based on FDA’s guidance documents, food processors who market directly to individual consumers might be exempt from the requirements for HACCP-type programs. But the language is far from clear.

The bill’s provisions for facilities are dependent on the definition of “facility” under the 2002 Bioterrorism Act, which exempted “retail food establishments” from being categorized as facilities, but did not define the term. FDA’s definition of the term does not address the majority of our local food producers. The specific examples of “retail food establishments” are establishments such as grocery stores, convenience stores, and vending machine locations. Not only are farmers markets, farm stands, and CSA’s not listed, but they may not qualify because they typically sell food at a different physical location than where the food is held, packed, or processed. Consider the typical example of a small-scale processor who buys local ingredients and makes jams, breads, cheeses, etc. to sell at the farmers market. It may be that the farmers market itself qualifies as a "retail food establishment" -- but the commercial kitchen where the goods were prepared would not qualify, because the main purpose of that location is to process food, not sell to consumers. Different physical locations may mean different requirements under the FDA’s definitions.

In addition, the current definitions specifically limit the exemption to producers who sell directly to individual consumers. It excludes producers who sell directly to end users such as restaurants, local grocers, and schools. So many food producers who provide healthy, safe foods to these institutions would be subject to the extensive new regulations under S.510.

The Tester Hagan amendment would do two things: (1) it would clarify that people selling directly to individual consumers are exempt, even if the physical location of the sale is different from the physical location of the processing; and (2) it would add a new exemption for processors who gross less than $500,000 and who sell directly to both individual consumers and other end-users such as local restaurants and local stores.

QUESTION: Does S. 510 “help” small farmers and local food producers?

No. The bill does include provisions to try to reduce the burdens that will be imposed on small producers, such as providing for longer deadlines for compliance and directing FDA to consider various issues facing organic farms and small businesses. But none of these actually prevent FDA from imposing new, burdensome requirements. The provisions essentially tell FDA to be nice to local food producers, but do not create enforceable limits on the agency's power.
The Tester-Hagan amendment is a reasonable way to protect small-scale businesses from overly burdensome and unnecessary regulations, and thus protect consumers’ options to buy from local producers whom they trust.

From the Farm and Ranch Freedom web site's FAQ on S510, http://farmandranchfreedom.org/Food-safety-FAQs .
 

Charmaine C (177)
Thursday October 7, 2010, 3:50 am
Urban you are an outstanding individual! Thanks for the comprehensive information that shows a very clear picture of S510.
 

julia C (42)
Sunday October 10, 2010, 6:49 pm
really this is a problem with big corporations. the more i read the more i realize that they are bombarding from all different angles to make the laws to allow their personal wrongful actions and grow in power. i know it is scary, but we are not the only ones to be scared, they are getting scared and are reacting to the spreading of awareness. that shows we are growing stronger by the minute. we just need to keep it up. and not let fear turn ito appathy.
let us not forget next saturday international day against monsanto and agro buissness.
and today was the peaceful rally 10/10/10.
 

Roberto Vivas (48)
Sunday October 10, 2010, 8:53 pm
It makes some sense
 

Hank J (0)
Wednesday October 13, 2010, 2:51 am
Do not be fooled, huge food manufacturing corporations will not be affected. This is an attempt to keep the small guys from making any money and folding to the huge companies. Your choice of producers, including healthier organic choices, will vanish. S510 will also go after those who grow their own food--have a
garden, etc. by making it illegal to do
anything like that anymore (goes after Farmer's Markets, too). It's
called a food safety bill but it's not - it's a food CONTROL bill,
pure and simple. Puts the FDA in charge of all of this so it cuts out
our elected representatives and no longer gives us a voice on what
they are doing. Same for the animal ID using the USDA to implement and
enforce it with outrageous fines and jail time for non-compliance.
S510 needs to be STOPPED immediately! We tried to stop it in the House
in July 2009, but they pulled some illegal shenanigans after the first
vote (and they lost) and voted on it again the next day and it got
through by one vote - and then they scrammed for summer break. The
Senate made some changes and made it even WORSE. It may be the most
dangerous bill to date that we've ever seen
 

jane richmond (10)
Sunday October 17, 2010, 4:57 pm
Thanks for mentioning this matter
 

Robert O (12)
Monday October 17, 2011, 5:38 pm
Thanks.
 
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