Do You Love Locally Grown Food? The Food Safety Modernization Act Still Spells Trouble for Family Farms

Ben Tettlebaum

If you eat fresh, local food and support the farms that grow it, then tell the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to protect local farms and sustainable agriculture in New England. We only have until December 15 to comment on FDA’s revised food safety rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act.

Last year, CLF members told FDA not to crush our local farms and food. And guess what? FDA listened! Thanks to you and many other allies, FDA fixed some of the problems with its proposed food safety rules.

The Food Safety Modernization Act could harm small- to mid-size farms throughout New England. ©EcoPhotography

The Food Safety Modernization Act could harm small- to mid-size farms throughout New England. ©EcoPhotography

But the fight is not over yet. FDA’s revised rules still threaten local farms – and some groups are even fighting to get FDA to undo the positive changes it did make. Now more than ever, we need you to tell FDA to protect the farmers and farmland that provide us fresh, healthy local food. This is our last chance to help FDA draft rules that work for family farms in New England.

FDA’s supplemental Produce and Preventive Controls Rules still define a “farm” too narrowly. Under the definition, our innovative New England produce farmers will struggle to diversify and work cooperatively to bring fresh produce to market. We need to tell FDA that diverse farms working together is a hallmark of agriculture in our region.

The revised rules must allow farmers to use sustainable, on-farm conservation practices that help both the farmer and the land. FDA should incorporate even stronger incentives for on-farm conservation that protects our soil, water, and wildlife habitat and simultaneously makes our food safer.

FDA also needs to hear support for the good changes it made to the rules. Here are just a few examples:

  • Farms can now pack and hold produce from neighboring farms without being subject to duplicative regulation under both rules.
  • FDA eliminated the 9-month waiting period between application of raw manure and harvest of crops, meaning farms will no longer be forced to use synthetic fertilizers.
  • The rules provide more due process for smaller farms and facilities that qualify for an exemption from the rules.

If you can take just 3 minutes to write a comment, please go to our action center and personalize the letter to FDA.

If you can devote extra time to write a more detailed comment, learn more about the proposed rules at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s FSMA Action Center.

Please comment today. Remember, the deadline is December 15. This is the last chance for the public to comment before FDA finalizes the rules.

With your help, we can protect small farms and local food throughout New England!

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