I have received the following update from the Weston A. Price Foundation regarding the Senate's Food Safety Bill, S.510. This is important to all of us who value access to locally grown food. Please contact Senators Lincoln and Pryor and express your concern.
As written, this bill would impose extremely burdensome and unnecessary requirements on the thousands of small farmers and food processors who are producing safe, nutrient-dense foods for their local communities. It's critical that the bill be amended or stopped!
The bill's progress has been slowed by controversial proposed amendments. The first controversy is over Senator Tester's (D-MT) proposed amendment that would exempt small-scale processors and direct-marketing farmers from the most onerous requirements. Senator Hagan (D-NC) is co-sponsoring the amendments, which are critical to the continued vitality of the local foods movement. Over 150 organizations have signed a letter of support for these amendments.
Another major source of controversy is Senator Dianne Feinstein's (D-CA) proposal to ban Bisphenol A (BPA) from baby bottles and other food and drink containers. Studies have shown that BPA can migrate from can linings into food, disrupting the endocrine system with many potential health consequences. Several industrial food organizations have threatened to withdraw their support for S. 510 if the BPA amendment is included. There's also controversy over a tracing provision by Senator Brown (D-OH).
All of these developments have slowed the bill down and pose barriers to its passage. The Senate may vote on the bill this month, but it's not certain. We must use this time to build more support for the Tester-Hagan amendments!
TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT LOCAL FOODS AND FARMS:
Contact your U.S. Senators (even if you have called before), and ask to speak with the staff person who handles food safety. Ask for them to co-sponsor the Tester-Hagan amendment to S. 510. Here is the contact information for Senators Lincoln and Pryor:
Here are some talking points regarding this issue:
A) One size does not fit all. All of the well-publicized incidents of contamination in recent years occurred in industrialized food supply chains that span national and even international boundaries. Imposing an industrial-style regulatory framework on local farmers and food producers is unnecessary, unfair, and counterproductive.
B) Local and state governments have well-established programs to protect public health. In most areas of the country they are already working with small producers to develop practical guidelines that are appropriately scaled to the level of risk in a direct-to-consumer transaction. Local regulation is more than enough for local foods.