You spoke; the U.S. Food and Drug Administration listened. The FDA announced today that it will redraft significant portions of its recently proposed Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule and Preventive Controls Rule.
This is big news! As drafted, the rules could have forced thousands of small farms across New England out of business and caused environmental damage to farmland, water, and wildlife. Thanks to comments from small-scale farmers and farming advocacy groups, local food lovers, and conservation advocates, including CLF members, we have another opportunity to help FDA draft rules that make our food safer and protect sustainable agriculture. As I’ve noted before, rulemaking is the federal government’s most inclusive democratic process. Today, the FDA proved this point.
The FDA plans to release newly drafted rules sometime early next summer. In a statement released today, FDA Deputy Commissioner Michael Taylor explained that the FDA will redraft key provisions of the rules, including “water quality standards and testing, standards for using raw manure and compost, certain provisions affecting mixed-use facilities, and procedures for withdrawing the qualified exemption for certain farms.” The FDA will complete its review of the comments it received to determine the full scope of redrafting. CLF will continue to track these rules and work to protect family farms, sustainable agriculture, and locally grown food.
We commend the FDA on its decision. Thank you to CLF members for adding your voice to this important process. New England farmers couldn’t have asked for a better holiday gift.