FDA Regulation of Local Food Processors Is Unnecessary and Burdensome

by Brandon Friemel
Monday, March 15, 2010

Currently the US Senate is considering a bill, S.510, to reform the food safety system. Although reform of the industrial food supply is clearly needed, this bill threatens to create more problems than it will solve. S.510 would undermine the rapidly growing local foods movement by imposing unnecessary, burdensome regulations on small farms and food processors-everyone from your local CSA to the small bakers, jam makers, and people making fermented vegetables to sell at the local farmer’s market.

This bill is going to the floor for a vote sometime in April or May, so everyone needs to contact their local Senators and let them know that this bill undermines small farms and food processors, another sector of SMALL BUSINESS in this country that doesn’t need any further regulation. SMALL BUSINESS is the backbone of this country, and we must fight to keep SMALL BUSINESS thriving, especially in these economic times.

Call your Senators and tell them to EXEMPT farmers selling directly to consumers and small-scale processors from all of the provisions of the food safety bill, S.510. For contact information, visit www.congress.org or call the switchboard: 202-224-3121.

Below is the information from the flyer we were given. This is a little long, but very good information.

FDA Regulation of Local Food Processors Is Unnecessary and Burdensome

Federal regs may be needed for industrial processing that source raw ingredients from mult. locations (sometimes imported from other countries) and ship their products across the country. But federal regulation is overkill for small local processors. State and local publich health laws are enough for local food sources.

HACCP Will NOT Improve Food Safety and Will Harm Small Processors

S.510 applies a complex and burdensome Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system to even the smallest local food processors. The HACCP system, with its requirements to develop and maintain extensive records, has proven to be an overwhelming burden for a significant number of small regional meat processors across the country. In the meat industry, HACCP has not eliminated the spread of E-coli and other pathogens and has resulted in fewer independent inspections of the large slaughter plants where these pathogens originate. At the same time, small regional processors have been subject to sanctions due to paperwork violations that posed no health threat. Applying a HACCP system to small, local foods processors could drive them out of business, reducing consumers’ options to buy fresh, local foods.

S.510 Puts FDA On The Farm

S.510 calls for FDA regulation of how farms grow and harvest produce. Given the agency’s track record, it is likely that the regulations will discriminate against small, organic, and diversified farms. The bill directs FDA to consider the impact of its rulemaking on small-scale and diversified farms, but there are no enforceable limits or protections for small diversified and organic farms from inappropriate and burdensome federal rules.

What the House Has Done

On July 30, the US House passed its version of a food safety bill, H.R. 279:

The Good: The House added a definition for “retail food establishments” that allows for some cottage level processing without invoking FDA regulation. Over 50% of the product must be sold at retail to qualify. The amendments also inserted some expemptions in the registration and record-keeping sections of the bill for farmers selling direct to consumers.

The Bad: HR 2749 continues to direct FDA to set standards for how farmers grow and harvest some types of procude, such as leafy greens, even for small farmers selling directly to consumers.

The Ugly: HR 2749 puts local facilities processing local foods for local markets under the same regulatory regime, and paying the same fees, as the major industrialized agribusinesses, like Dole or Del Monte.

The focus is now on the Senate. The major foodborne illness outbreaks and recalls have all been within the large, industrial food system. Small, local food producers have not contributed to the highly publicized outbreaks. Yet both the House and Senate bills subject the small, local food system to broad federal regulatory oversight. Increased regulations, record-keeping obligations, and the penalities and fees could destroy small businesses bringing food to local communities. Take action today to protect local food producers, promote food safety, and help your local economy!

If anyone has any further questions please contact Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance at (866) 687-6452 (toll free) or at info@farmandranchfreedom.org

3 Comments

  1. Keren

    March 15, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    Dow Chemical Spent $1.4M Lobbying Gov’t In 3Q reporting in 12-09. Hmmm… I wonder if that’s why they are allowed the special priveledge of providing nourishment for the masses. According to Wikipedia Hydrochloric acid emissions became regulated in the British Alkali Act of 1863.” After the passage of the act, soda ash producers were obliged to absorb the waste gas in water, producing hydrochloric acid on an industrial scale.” Hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide are used in countless means of food production. Folks this is pollution in liquid form and they are soaking our food in it and feeding it to babies. Let’s see, uses for hydrochoric acid; production of cocaine and heroin, pickling steel, hotdogs, sewage treatment and drinking water! Really! Uses for sodium hydroxide; soap, fuel, drain cleaner, paint stripper, soft drinks, ice cream and pretzels. But seriously ya’ll need to be weary of buying raw milk from farmer Bob, I hear he has political and monetary motives that are criminal, inhumane and dangerous.

  2. mike adcock

    April 12, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    I have been manufacturing salsa’s for 21 years and have been approved by the state of oklahoma health dept. on every inspection and now they are telling me that the haccp plan needs more updating to which they also told me they actually don’t umderstand the haccp plan to it’s full detail.
    but they just gave me the haccp book and said I had to learn it or quit the buisness.they said there was a 0.091% chance I could poison someone,although no person has ever been sick from my product.
    the funniest part of this is they said I could give the salsa away leagally,but not sell it.if it is so dangerous why can I give it away?
    this in my opinion comes down to shelf space in stores.take away all small buisness in the stores and the giant food distribution companies can gain 10-15 % more shelf space which leads to billions of dollars in more greedy profits
    if you go to sams or wal-mart and watch them demo products like sausage and mayonaise based spreads or cheese left at room tempature and on top of the sneeze guard makes you think why they get away with such mistakes and a bacteria rate so high that rivals next to poultry. the truth is the government can track their tax payments easier than that of small companies and they hire more people than small business.

  3. michael

    April 24, 2010 at 8:17 am

    yeah I was at sams on 04 14-2010 and asked the demo person/sams employee who worked in the meat dept. how come they were able to demo rotisserie chicken with no sneeze guard or why the holding temp. was not 135 degrees and he told me the chicken does not need to have a holding temp. nor they do not need a sneeze guard for the food.

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