“In its efforts to ensure the safety of food, the US government may actually be ignoring the real problem while shutting down small organic farms.
So says the Cornucopia Institute, a Wisconsin-based farm policy research group which released a 16-page analysis accusing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in a way that will crush “the country’s safest farmers” while leaving what Cornucopia calls the “root threats to human health” – contaminated manure made on “factory” livestock farms and certain produce-processing methods – untouched.
“In response to deadly outbreaks involving spinach, peanut butter and eggs, Congress acted decisively three years ago to pass the Food Safety Modernization Act,” said Mark A. Kastel, co-director at Cornucopia. “Better oversight is needed but it looks like regulators and corporate agribusiness lobbyists are simultaneously using the FSMA to crush competition from the organic and local farming movement.”
The paper noted a recently-released research report by Cornucopia that looks at the FDA’s regulations for implementing the FSMA, along with guidance meant to control Salmonella in eggs from outdoor flocks. The report concludes that such regulations would fall hardest on family farmers, and it alleges that the abuses the regulations were meant to correct “are mostly emanating from industrial-scale farms and giant agribusiness food-processing facilities.”
“The FDA freely acknowledges that the farm cost of implementing their proposed Rule will drive some producers out of business,” the paper says. “Record keeping, testing protocols, and the need for an auditor will cost thousands of dollars. The FDA estimates an approximate annual cost of $4,700 for very small farms and $13,000 for medium-sized operations. In a very narrow margin business, these costs can amount to a significant percentage of a farm family’s net income. And these FDA numbers may be an underestimate.”…”