R-CALF USA has joined 86 other organizations to urge the Senate to make important amendments to its food safety bill (S. 510) so that it will actually improve food safety while minimizing unnecessary burdens to small-scale, local food producers.
“The Senate is expected to vote soon on a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s food safety laws, but Senate Bill 510 actually will strengthen the forces that have led to the consolidation of our food supply in the hands of a few industrial food producers, while harming small producers who give consumers the choice to buy fresh, healthy and local foods,” said R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard.
“We have joined with these other groups to ask Congress to stop and think of ways to solve the real food safety problems – a centralized food distribution system and imported foods – instead of passing laws that will regulate small enterprises right out of business,” he said. “Senate Bill 510 is a one-size-fits-all approach that will ultimately deprive consumers of the choice to buy from producers they know and trust.”
The letter states in part: “…All of the well-publicized incidents of contamination in recent years – whether in spinach, peppers, or peanuts – occurred in industrialized food supply chains that span national and even international boundaries. The food safety problems in this system can and should be addressed without harming the local food systems that 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. Farmers and processors who sell directly to consumers and end users have a direct relationship with their customers that ensures quality, safety, transparency and accountability. In addition, small-scale food producers are already regulated by local and state authorities, and the potential risk their products pose is inherently limited by their size. For these farmers and processors, new federal requirements are unnecessary and would simply harm both the food producers and their consumers. Although the Committee-passed bill includes some provisions for flexibility for small and diversified producers, S. 510 still would establish new hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls for all 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…”
“Food safety and our nation’s food security are important to everyone, and although S. 510 is specific to FDA, it is in everyone’s interest to make certain that this first step at food safety reform targets the entities that have created the safety problems, not the farmers, ranchers and smaller processors who have continually provided safe and wholesome food for our country,” Bullard concluded.
Posted by Kaci Switzer