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Small, Organic Farmers Say New Food Safety Rules Would Be Costly, Force Them to Change Methods

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's All About Organics page and our Food Safety Research Center page.

MILWAUKEE - Small and organic vegetable farmers who say proposed federal food safety rules could harm their businesses have organized dozens of events nationwide to inform people about the regulations and encourage them to write to the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA proposed the rules in response to the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act, a major update aimed at preventing foodborne illness instead of reacting to it. Among other measures, the rules would require farmers to take precautions against contamination, including ensuring that workers' hands are washed, irrigation water is clean and animals stay out of fields.

While small farmers agree with the law's goal of creating a safer food supply, they say the rules show a lack of understanding of agricultural practices and could be costly enough to force some out of business. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coaliton, National Young Farmers Coalition and other groups have started a campaign to encourage the public to write to the FDA before the comment period ends Nov. 15.

It's unclear whether the government shutdown will affect that timeline.
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