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FDA's food safety rules undermine organic ag

by Randy Shannon

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) gives the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) broad new powers to prevent food safety problems. The FDA has submitted proposed rules for public comment through Nov. 15, 2013. The FDA's proposed rules do not affect meat, poultry, and egg products, which are under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s jurisdiction. 

MOSES and our partners in the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) believe the FDA's rules are impractical and burdensome for farmers who grow and sell fresh produce, and for businesses that process, pack, manufacture or store food. It is clear the FDA does not understand what a "farm" is or how fresh produce is grown and prepared for market. The proposed rules would be so difficult and expensive for small- to mid-sized farmers that many would likely give up farming.

NSAC has spent six months reviewing these complex rules, and has created a list of the top 10 issues with the FDA's rules. One issue is that the regulations restrict use of animal manures, pushing farmers instead toward chemical fertilizers, which the FDA considers safer. They also make it more difficult for farms to diversify or use conservation practices. TheNSAC food safety website outlines the steps for submitting comments and offers suggestions for wording.

Please take the time to comment -- the future of farming in the U.S. could be dramatically changed for the worse if these food safety regulations are implemented as proposed. 

Reprinted by permission from the MOSES Newsletter.  MOSES is a non-profit organization  providing resources and training to enable farmers to grow organic successfully.