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<p><span style="font-size:11pt;"><span style="font-family:calibri, sans-serif;"><span style="font-family:calibri;"><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="display:none;"> </span></span></span></span></span></p>
<p><span style="display:none;"> </span> I know I mostly skulk around here and the threads are non-political, but there's a food "safety" bill being voted on this week which will have a big impact on real food producers.</p>
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<p><span style="font-size:11pt;"><span style="font-family:calibri, sans-serif;"><span style="font-family:calibri;">Although almost all recently reported food scares have arisen from large scale industrial agriculture and food processing the requirements and regulations proposed by this "safety" act were orginally leveled ALL producers including small and independent farmers and Amish food cooperatives.  <em>The financial burden created by such regulation on smaller farmers and producers would cripple their economic feasibility. </em></span></span></span></p>
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<p><span style="font-size:11pt;"><span style="font-family:calibri, sans-serif;"><span style="font-family:calibri;">And this was the Point, not "safety".  <em>This bill is backed by all the major food industry organizations</em>.  I<span style="font-size:medium;">t is a cynical agri-business backed attempt to score some PR and eliminate small-scale local food competitors who can not simply absorb the costs of regulation. </span></span></span></span></p>
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<p><span style="font-size:medium;">and it will again reduced our freedom to find food we believe is best. </span></p>
<p><span style="font-size:medium;"> </span></p>
<p><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-size:medium;">PLEASE CONTACT YOUR SENATORS to ensure that the Tester-Hagan amendment stays in the bill. This will provide some protection for small scale family farms and those of us who choose to participate in their local foodshed.</span></span></p>
<p><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-size:medium;">you can find your senators here:</span></span></p>
<p><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-size:medium;"><a href="http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm" target="_blank"><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="color:#800080;">http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm</span></span></a></span></span></p>
<p><span style="font-size:medium;"> </span></p>
<p><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-size:medium;">and track the bill here:</span></span></p>
<p><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="font-size:medium;"><a href="http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-510" target="_blank"><span style="font-size:medium;"><span style="color:#800080;">http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-510<span style="display:none;"> </span><span style="display:none;"> </span></span></span></a></span></span></p>
<p><span style="font-size:medium;"> </span></p>
 

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<p>I was horrified to find that Michael Pollan and the Food INC people SUPPORT this bill!!!  It's like Monsanto's wet dream, wth??  Joe Salatin and polyface farms are still against it, though.</p>
 

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<p>URGH!!!!</p>
 

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<p>Tester's amendment was good and protected the small scale farmers - like our local CSA.  Farmers netting less than 500,000/year and serving a narrower range (I don't recall how far - 350 miles?) etc.</p>
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<p>Polyface, however, is much larger in scope than most of the small scale organic/beyond organic types.  So he'll still be bound by the same laws as the big producers. </p>
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<p>I don't think it's perfect, but I think it's way better than what we had - and the fact that Michael Pollan supported it (with the Tester amendment) makes me feel more comfortable with it.  Among other things, the FDA can now force a food recall (remember the peanut situation, and the pistachios - both of those, the corporations involved resisted recalls for quite some time while meanwhile people were continuing to purchase/eat the contaminated products). </p>
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<p>In a perfect world, we'd have repealed corporate personhood and vastly limited corporate powers instead (as those have led to most of the concerns).  But I think this was a more realistic solution. </p>
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<p>Yeah, with the tester amendement I'm all for this. If your making more than 500,000 a year, I'm sorry, but you can afford some of this stuff. Of course there are problems - there will always be problems and you will *never* please everyone. But overall, IMHO this bill *IS* a step in the right direction.</p>
 

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<p>problem is if they strip the tester-hagan amendment out at last minute...need to keep an eye out on this one considering the forces behind it!</p>
 

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<p>Just because a farmer "makes" over 500K does NOT mean that they're pulling in a reasonable profit and does NOT mean they can afford it.  Many small farmers can have hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in debts (especially if they're a small farmer that's contracting with a big business like Tyson or Perdue).  So yes, you can be a small farmer making over 500K and this bill can put you out of business.</p>
 

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<p>I'm sure thats true. But theres got to be a limit somewhere and seeing as the alternative is the system we have (which is *OBVIOUSLY* very broken!!), or a super high limit (what would you have it at? 1 milion? 5 million? 10 million??), overall, IMHO its a good bill. :shrug</p>
 

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If they are contracting to a major retailer or distribution company they should already be meeting the food safety standards of their down chain recipients. If you are entering a nationwide distribution channel, you should be under FDA regulation.<br><br>
If you are only staying in local distribution, bad practices can and will still make people sick, but it will much more isolated and won't have such a significant impact on the national food supply.<br><br>
Obviously I'm biased, as I am a food safety professional, but food safety practices which should be common sense are not always being put into practice, especially with small suppliers. It is really scary to me as a food safety professional to work with small suppliers who are trying to enter nationwide distribution, and honestly I think that if money is the reason that people don't want to have this bill passed, instead of working against it, people should be working to make federal funds available to help small suppliers improve their systems.<br><br>
Not to mention, that the bill does not actually create a regulatory document. Even if SB510 becomes law, it is years out for FDA to develop a comprehensive regulatory document and audit system.
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>mamadelbosque</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282575/food-safety-bill-threatens-small-scale-farmers#post_16084860"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I'm sure thats true. But theres got to be a limit somewhere and seeing as the alternative is the system we have (which is *OBVIOUSLY* very broken!!), or a super high limit (what would you have it at? 1 milion? 5 million? 10 million??), overall, IMHO its a good bill. :shrug</p>
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Sure, I don't necessarily disagree, I'm just pointing out that *grossing* over 500K does not mean the farmer is *netting* anywhere near that much.  I know plenty of farmers who gross 6 digits and barely make ends meet.</p>
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
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<div>people should be working to make federal funds available to help small suppliers improve their systems.</div>
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<p>This, imo, would be a much better solution.  Because unfortunately, being contracted to a large corporation does not mean that the corporation is covering these costs.  It's usually the farmer, and they're often going in debt directly to the corporation.  Which is horrible for everyone, for obvious reasons.</p>
 

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<p>Could somebody explain this bill to me?  What measures does it take to increase safety?  How would it put smaller farmers out of business?  Would it take away our freedom by putting our farmers out of business, or are there provisions in the bill to limit certain foods that we may want to buy or requiring processing that depletes nutrients?</p>
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<p>I've been meaning to look these up, but I've read so much legalese today that I'm not sure I could stomach a congressional bill right now, so I really appreciate summaries in lay terms.  TIA.</p>
 

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<p>yahoo has a piece <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/atlantic/20101201/cm_atlantic/whatthefoodsafetybillcouldmeanforyouandyourbroccoli5998" target="_blank">here</a> that's got links to a bunch of different opinions on it (pro and con).</p>
 

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<p><a href="http://www.naturalnews.com/030587_Senate_Bill_510_Food_Safety.html" target="_blank">Top ten lies about Senate Bill 510</a></p>
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<p><span><img alt="yeahthat.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/yeahthat.gif"></span></p>
 

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<p>Yeah, and don't forget this bill will expand the FDA's power...the same FDA that has stated that citizens do not have a fundamental right to obtain and consume what foodes we wish.</p>
 

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<p>This bill gives the FDA the power to destroy farms invintory without any proof or science to back up claims.  They can put small farms out of business by doing this.  All they need is suspicion not proof.  So sad!  I wish I thought the FDA was only trying to help us and keep us safe but I don't believe that that is the case.  Here's a link about a farm that had something just like this happen! <span style="display:none;"> </span><a href="http://hartkeisonline.com/food-politics/morningland-dairy-headed-to-court/" target="_blank">http://hartkeisonline.com/food-politics/morningland-dairy-headed-to-court/</a>  So scarry that the FDA can tell us what we can and cannot eat!  Blows my freekin mind! </p>
 

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<p>It gives FDA power to act (i.e. destroy inventory, recall, etc) on "reason to believe," so by their definition of milk (ultra-pasteurized, homogenized commercial milk) all raw milk, which does not meet their definition, will give FDA "reason to believe" it poses a food safety threat and should be eliminated. The FDA also does not believe that any food can prevent or cure any disease, they believe that food is inert and is not effected by treatments such as pasteurization, irradiation, or genetic modification. </p>
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<p>If this bill truly wanted to do something about food safety it would ban CAFO's, and take measures to encourage decentralization, pesticides and GMO's. Since it does none of these, I cannot believe the bill is about food safety. I think it is about control, "Control the food, and you control the people," Henry Kissinger </p>
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<p>Also, the Tester amendment does not simply exempt small farms. They still have to jump through hoops (submit 3 years worth of financial records and proof that they are regulated by a local agency) and if they cannot do this, they are subject to the full enforcement of S510. I wonder what this will mean for small producers who want to get started? </p>
 
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