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Hailed as the most sweeping overhaul of farm and food policy since the Great Depression, many fear the law will actually make our food supply less safe – not to mention sterile – by regulating small, organic farmers out of business and leaving it in the hands of a few mega farmers and processors.Pushback Begins Against FSMA On-the-Farm Rules | Food Safety News
Each regulation would implement part of the historic Food Safety Modernization Act, which was signed into law on Jan. 4, 2011. The 1,600 pages of regulations mean that rural America is going to be coming under more attention than ever from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the federal agency charged with enforcement of the new food-safety law.4 Foods That Could Disappear If New Food Safety Rules Pass | Mother Jones
The law, known as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), was a pretty modest piece of work when it came to reining in massive operations that can sicken thousands nationwide with a single day's output. No surprise, since Big Food's main lobbying group, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, notes on its web site that "GMA worked closely with legislators to craft the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act and will work closely with the FDA to develop rules and guidance to implement the provisions of this new law." (Food and Water Watch summarizes FSMA here; Elanor Starmer lists some of its limitations here.)The Downside of the Food Safety Modernization Act | Food Rant | Food | KCET
The problem with this, or really any sweeping reform, is concerns that could be best summarized in that often-quoted metaphorical case of Baby v. Bathwater. In this case, the bathwater is our national food-borne illness epidemic and the baby is small farms. See, if you start creating rules to police a wide range of business sizes -- in this case, small farms versus huge corporate conglomerates -- you tend to hurt the little guy more often. (Think of it like this: If you fine everyone $100, who's going to get hit more: A billionaire CEO or minimum wage worker?) Or, as Mother Jones puts it:Food Safety Modernization Act Threatens Fresh, Healthy and Sustainably Grown Food
Obviously, what would be a light burden for a multinational giant like, say, Kraft Foods, could be a crushing one for a farm that sells its produce at a farmers market.