Food Safety Bill – NOT GOOD!

I know everyone is concerned about food safety, but we cannot stand by why the Federal Government dictates what we eat and how it should be produced. The bill currently on the Senate floor will end small farming as we know it. This is no exaggeration. As usual, the repercussions of passing sweeping legislation have not been considered. I just called our senators.

 
   
POLITICAL ACTION ALERT!!!

September 23, 2010

  FOOD SAFETY LEGISLATION MUST PROTECT 
FAMILY FARMS, SUSTAINABLE & ORGANIC AGRICULTURE

CALL YOUR SENATORS TODAY AND URGE THEM 
TO SUPPORT THE TESTER AMENDMENT  

The Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510) could reach the Senate floor as early as tomorrow.  NSAC has been able to win several improvements to the bill but more changes are needed to avoid serious harm to family farm value-added processing and the emergence of local and regional food systems.    

S.510 would considerably ramp up FDA regulation on farms that even minimally process their crops and sell them to restaurants, food coops, groceries, schools and wholesalers.  An amendment sponsored by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) would exempt small farm and small food processing facilities as well as small and mid-sized farmers who primarily direct market their products to consumers, stores or restaurants within their region. 

Please call your Senators today and ask them to support the Tester Amendment.

It’s easy to call – for Massachusetts:  

Senator John Kerry: Washington office – 202-224-2742, Boston office – 617-565-8519

Senator Scott Brown: Washington office – 202-224-4543, Boston office – 617-565-3170

The message is simple. “I am a constituent of Senator___________ and I am calling to ask him/her to support the Tester Amendment and to include the Tester language in the Manager’s Amendment to the food safety bill.  The Tester Amendment will exempt small farm and food facilities and farmers who direct market their products to consumers, stores or restaurants.   We need a food safety bill that cracks down on corporate bad actors without erecting new barriers to family farms and the growing healthy food movement.  Our continuing economic recovery demands that we preserve these market opportunities for small  and mid-sized family farms.  



Learn More: 

Most sustainable agriculture and family farm groups think the Senate bill with changes won by NSAC is a very significant improvement over the companion bill passed by the House of Representatives (HR 2749) last year.  The changes listed below will be included in the bill that goes to the Senate floor for a vote.  We can’t support the Senate bill, however, unless the Tester amendment is also adopted.  We strongly oppose the companion House measure, and stand ready to defend the “good amendments” to the Senate bill when it goes to conference with the House later this year. 

The best way to ensure that the Tester provision is included with the final bill that emerges from conference is for it to be included in the Manager’s Amendment as it goes to the floor of the Senate.  The Manager’s Amendment includes all of the language that has the support of the three Democrats and three Republicans who are sponsoring the bill. Please call your Senator and request that the Tester language be added to the Manager’s Amendment.  

The Manager’s Amendment to S.510 already includes the following important improvements to the bill that have been backed by NSAC:

  • Sanders (D-VT) amendment (requiring FDA to write regulations to determine low risk on-farm processing activities that can be exempt from regulatory requirement);
  • Bennet (D-CO) amendment (to reduce unnecessary paperwork and streamline requirements for farmers and small processors);
  • Stabenow (D-MI) amendment (to create a USDA-delivered competitive grants program for farmer food safety training);
  • Boxer (D-CA) amendment (to eliminate anti-wildlife habitat language from the bill); and

Brown (D-OH) amendment (on traceability requirements, including exemptions for direct marketing and farm identity-preserved marketing).


 

 
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE NOFA POLITICAL ACTION ALERT, OR THE NOFA POLICIES ON THE FOOD SAFETY MODERNIZATION ACT, PLEASE CONTACT NOFA/MASS POLICY DIRECTOR, JACK KITTREDGE AT JACK@NOFAMASS.ORG.
 
NOFA/Mass is a community of farmers, gardeners, landscapers, and consumers, working to educate members and the general public about the benefits of local organic systems based on complete cycles, natural materials and minimal waste for the health of individual beings, communities and the living planet.

NOFA/Mass
411 Sheldon Road
Barre, MA 01005
978-355-2853

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About stillmansfarm

Stillman's Farm® is a family owned farm in Massachusetts. We currently operate at two locations: a greenhouse/retail business in Lunenburg, and the majority of vegetable production in New Braintree. Glenn Stillman started the business in Lunenburg over 20 years ago and now enjoys the promise of the next generation further expanding the very diverse enterprise. The farm also has several Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs established in Boston, Lunenburg, Jamaica Plain, Brookline, New Braintree and the Southborough/Framingham area. In addition, the Stillman's trucks have become a fixture at the Boston Area Farmer's Markets. Our Philosophy Most of Stillman's produce is grown without chemicals. For a few crops this simply is not feasible. For these particular crops, we participate in the State Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program. This entails systematic scouting of fields, protection of beneficial insects, bio-controls, and well-timed applications of only the safest pesticides. With growing concern about genetically modified organisms (GMO), as a patron you can be confident that none of the produce we grow have been engineered, in fact, we often experiment with many heirloom varieties! Conscientiously Grown® The combination of no pesticides, good cultivation management, and IPM practices allows us to offer the widest possible selection of fruit and vegetable varieties and be a thriving sustainable farm. We have developed our own label, "conscientiously grown" to convey our commitment to the safety of our environment, family and customers. All of our hormone free, pasture raised meats carry a conscientiously grown label too!
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