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Organic Consumers Association

Campaigning for health, justice, sustainability, peace, and democracy

FDA Fires Direct Shot at Small, Local, Artisanal Food Producers

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The FDA is proposing a new regulation that could shutter the doors of your favorite artisanal food producers. Action Alert!

When the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was originally proposed in 2010, we and many other organizations were troubled. Small-farm and organic food advocates warned that the legislation would destroy their industry under a mountain of paperwork and other onerous requirements.

Working with the natural health community, ANH-USA helped win the inclusion of an amendment from Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Kay Hagan (D-NC), which exempted producers making less than $500,000 a year in sales who also sold most of their food locally. This wasn’t easy. Big farms and processed food companies and their allies at the USDA and FDA did not like it—they feel threatened by competition from natural food producers.

It is not surprising but it is disappointing that the FDA has simply ignored the intent of the Tester-Hagan amendment in a new rule it has proposed. In interpreting the amended FSMA, FDA determined that only food produced on a farm and then sold locally at a farmer’s market or roadside stand would qualify.

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