Next week, as early as Tuesday, April 13, the U.S. Senate is expected
to vote on a sweeping overhaul of federal food safety law – S. 510.
The House food safety bill passed last year (HR 2749) included several
measures that threaten small-scale organic producers, including a
registration fee of $500 and blanket application of complicated
monitoring and traceability standards — regardless of one’s farm size.
There’s no doubt that industrial agriculture needs better oversight.
family-scale local and organic farms are probably the
safest in the nation –they are part of the solution, not part of the
problem — and need to be protected!
Now is your chance, as a supporter of sustainable family farming, to
help fix these problems! Senator John Tester (D-MT), a certified
organic farmer himself, is proposing an amendment to S. 510 that would
exempt small-scale farmers and food processors from the most burdensome
We need your help
TODAY, please call your U.S.
Senators in support of these proposals.
The vast majority of recent food safety scandals in the U.S. — E.
coli on fresh spinach, melamine in dairy products, Salmonella in peanut
butter — were all linked to industrial agribusiness practices, and these
large-scale operations clearly warrant more federal food safety
oversight and strict enforcement action. What is NOT needed is a
“one-size-fits-all” approach that poses unfair costs and onerous
reporting on local and organic farmers.
Safer, healthier food options provided by local, organic, and
sustainable farmers should not be punished for their responsible work
with expensive and complicated new rules. These rules may make
industrialized food production safer, but offer no real food safety
gains to consumers of local and organic foods. Small-scale operations
are already subject to adequate regulation by local and state agencies.
Smaller farm size inherently poses less risk (they are almost always
owner-operated), and direct marketing also offers consumers better
quality food with more transparency and accountability — and easy
Taking Action is Easy:
Call your Senators today, and tell them that you support Senator
Tester’s amendment to S. 510.
To reach your state’s Senators,
1. Search his/her phone number online: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
2. Or call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.
Sample Talking Points:
Specific talking points you can share with your Senators from
Tester’s proposed amendment to S. 510 include:
With respect to the hazard analysis and risk-based preventive
controls, add the following new section to Section 103:
(l) EXEMPTION FOR CERTAIN FACILITIES – This section shall not apply to a
facility for a year if the average annual adjusted gross income of such
facility for the previous three-year period was less than $500,000.
With respect to traceability, add the following new section to
(f) EXEMPTION FOR CERTAIN FACILITIES – The traceback and recordkeeping
requirements under this section shall not apply to a facility for a year
if the adjusted gross income of such facility for the previous year was
less than $500,000.
With respect to the produce standards, add the following new section
to Section 105:
(g) EXCEPTION FOR DIRECT MARKET FARMS – This section shall not apply to
farms whose annual value of sales of food products directly to
consumers, hotels, restaurants, or institutions exceeds the annual value
of sales of food products to all other buyers.
Thanks for your support of organic, local and sustainable