Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance Action Alert

So, Beth....my favorite farmer (ok, the only one I know) is asking us to help spread the word on this.

Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance Action Alert

Food Safety Bill Heads to Committee Hearing

As we alerted you last month, a food safety bill -- HR 2749 -- is moving through Congress. The bill will be heard by the House Agriculture Committee on Thursday, July 16. If your State has a Representative on the Committee, please call TODAY to urge them to support amendments to address the most damaging provisions of the bill.Some of the key problems with the bill:
A food facility—defined as any establishment that manufactures, processes, packs, or holds food—would have to register and pay an annual $500 fee. Although farms are exempt, the agency has defined “farm” narrowly, and people making foods such as jam, cheese, or canned vegetables for local markets would be required to register and pay the fee. This could drive start-up and small producers out of business during difficult economic times. The fee is the same whether you are a small, local producer or a Heinz factory.

Facilities are also subject to extensive recordkeeping and paperwork requirements that could bury them in red tape without improving food safety.

The FDA is authorized to regulate how farms grow, harvest, pack, sort, transport and hold raw produce and crops. The agency's track record shows that this is likely to lead to regulations based on the practices of huge, industrial facilities, and that will be impractical and counterproductive for small, diversified farms.

Establish a sliding scale for fees based on gross income, with an exemption for small facilities.
Limit the bill to food being shipped interstate, and explicitly exempt all farms and food processors who are selling only intrastate.
Exempt all farms and food processors who are selling directly to consumers.

The industrial food safety system does need to be reformed. But a bill that harms small and local producers is not the answer! Help protect both farmers and our food supply by calling today!

Click here for a list of who to call.

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