Grain News


Illinois Stewardship Alliance Comments on FDA Food Safety Rules

Date Posted: January 4, 2013

Springfield—The Food and Drug Administration released much-anticipated proposed rules detailing standards for produce safety and preventive controls for human food production Friday.

The release of the rules is a major step in the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which President Obama signed into law two years ago.

The law is the first significant overhaul to our nation’s food safety laws since the 1930s.

“FSMA’s aim is to improve food safety, which is a goal everyone can support, but doing so must be done in a scale and risk appropriate way.

"Alternatively, a one-size-fits-all approach could put family farms out of business and eliminates opportunities for local and organic food and farm entrepreneurs.”

Wes King, policy director for the Illinois Stewardship Alliance, said.

“The release of these rules and the subsequent comment period represents an important opportunity for those who are interested in building sustainable, local food systems to voice their opinions about the scope and impact of the proposed rules.”

Congress took several steps to guarantee that small and mid-sized family farms could adhere to new FSMA produce production standards, reporting requirements, and prevention planning requirements without costly new investments.

Specific provisions in FSMA to ensure scale-appropriate regulations include:

• The option for small, mid, and direct-market agricultural operations to comply with equivalent state regulations or modified, scale-appropriate federal regulation.

• Safeguards to ensure that the produce regulations do not undermine beneficial on-farm conservation and wildlife-friendly practices, and do not contradict strict regulations for certified organic production.

• Requiring the FDA to differentiate between low-risk and high-risk farm and food processing activities when writing the regulations

• A priority on streamlining and reducing unnecessary paperwork for farmers and small processors.

• Providing alternative means of tracing food through the supply chain, including an exemption for farm identity-preserved products.

The proposed rules can be found at www.fda.gov/food.

The public can submit comments about the proposed rules at www.regulations.gov up to 120 days after the rules are posted.

The Illinois Stewardship Alliance is a nonprofit organization that works on issues of sustainable agriculture and local food availability.

For more information, call 217-528-1563.

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