Final opportunity to impact food safety regulations that farms and food businesses will live with for years to come
In 2010, Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the first major overhaul of national food safety rules in more than 75 years. At the direction of Congress, in January 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released two proposed food safety rules aimed at reducing incidences of food borne illness.
The proposed rule for Standards for Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption, known as the produce safety rule, will apply to farms that grow, harvest, pack, and hold produce intended for raw consumption. In other words, produce that will undergo further processing or must be cooked before consuming (dry beans, potatoes, etc.) will not be covered under the produce safety rule. Instead, those foods will be regulated under the proposed rule for the Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventative Controls for Human Food, referred to as the preventative controls rule.
Once fully implemented, these rules will apply to about 80 percent of the nation’s food supply, impacting growers, processors, and food businesses across Ohio and the nation. The FDA predicts that the cost for compliance could be higher than $12,000 for small farms and $30,000 for large farms. With so much on the line, the food and farming community has worked to ensure that diversified, sustainable, and organic farms are not saddled with one-size-fits-all regulations that are impractical and burdensome for smaller operations.
The FDA released revised proposed rules for the produce safety and preventative controls rules in September. These new proposals show significant improvement, but did not go far enough.Important changes are needed to ensure the continued growth of local food systems, protect sustainable and organic farmers, and prevent additional costly regulations that may not be based on science or risk assessment. The FDA's food safety rules will have long-lasting implications for farmers and it is very important that the new rules work for family farmers while ensuring a safe food supply.
Let FDA know that:
Farms innovate—Don’t let the rules squash local food by unfairly targeting family farmers who are growing their businesses and improving healthy food access through innovations like working together to wash and pack produce for local schools.The rules need to make sure that local food and farms can grow and thrive.
Farms work with nature—Don’t let the rules undermine sustainability by making it harder for farmers to protect wildlife and manage their soil and water using organic and sustainable methods. The rules need to allow farmers to use sustainable farming practices.
Farms deserve fair treatment—Don’t let the rules raise costs for farmers, food businesses, and consumers by imposing unclear, inconsistent, and unfair rules designed for industrial facilities, not family farms and food businesses.The rules need to provide options that treat family farms fairly without unnecessary, excessive costs.
The FDA is seeking comments from farmers, processors, experts, and the general public—anyone can submit a comment online or by mail. Find detailed instructions for how to comment here and remember to comment on BOTH the produce safety rule and the preventive controls rule.
The deadline for comments is December 15, 2014.During the first comment period the website for comments crashed numerous times. Please don't wait until the last moment—take action today!
To download a sample consumer comment template, click here.
To download a sample farmer comment template, click here.
To read the full text of the revised produce safety rule, click here.
To submit comments on the revised produce safety rules, click here.
To read the full text of the revised preventative controls rule, click here.
To submit comments on the revised preventative controls rule, click here.
If you are confused by all of the new proposed rules, you are not alone! Join OEFFA, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, and the University of Illinois Extension for a webinar on Monday, December 1 at 2 p.m. to learn about what the new proposal means for farmers and local food. Register today.
The success of our policy work relies on OEFFA's dedicated members, who are leading the way to strong and healthy local food systems. For more information about OEFFA's policy work or to get involved, email@example.com (614) 421-2022 Ext. 208.