Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Proposed Food Safety Rules Clash With Organic Farmers

Organic farmers are raising opposition to FDA food safety rules that will put the squeeze on small-production farms.

organic berry farm

Photo: sagebrush photograph (Flickr)

The Food Safety Modernization Act authorizes federal regulators to inspect farms.

The FDA is holding a magnifying glass up to organic farmers, warning that food safety inspections are about to get stricter.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was formed in response to consumer group pressure, and is a broad food safety plan to be implemented by the FDA. Consumer groups have pushed for more oversight, citing major outbreaks like the listeria outbreak of 2011 that killed 30 and sickened 100 others.

The FSMA’s increased scrutiny on farms and food practices may be disruptive to smaller farms, and hamper sustainable practices like composting and using fertilizer from farm animals, which would be deemed unsafe.

Farmers have voiced their distress, arguing that the FDA doesn’t understand what happens in small-production farms. Local growers simply don’t have facilities to meet some of the proposed demands.

Although enforcement is still years away, and the FDA has eased some demands, the FSMA will mark the first time the government will directly regulate farm practices.

Read More:

  • Planned food safety rules rile organic farmers (Los Angeles Times)
  • Background on the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) (FDA.gov)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Bloomington, Indiana. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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