The second round of draft rules for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) have been released. You might remember last year when we sounded the alarm about new food safety regulations by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and how they could make sustainable and organic agriculture, local food, and farm conservation efforts collateral damage?
Well, we’ve got some good news and some bad news.
The good news is that FDA received tens of thousands of comments from farmers and eaters alike – and they took those comments seriously, even agreeing to re-draft several key sections of the proposed FSMA rules.
Thebad newsis that we’ve seen the new draft, and while they did make some critical improvements, the improvements don’t go far enough. FDA still doesn’t quite get what it means to be a farmer.
Farming isn’t easy. It takes creativity, smarts, and more than a little sweat equity to make it as a family farmer in the US, and some of the most exciting innovations happening on farms today are around farmers working together to get more fresh, healthy food into local markets, school, and grocery stores. In Michigan, we have seen unprecedented support for local & regional food from farmers, food businesses, and consumers of all types!
The last thing farmers and communities need is for these innovations to be unintentionally stifled by new food safety rules intended for corporate agribusiness, not family farms.
We need your help to tell FDA: let a farm be a farm!
Comments submitted by family farmers, family-run food businesses, and organizations who work with and support those folks are the most important tool to fix the final rules.
Don’t let the rules squash farmers’ innovative efforts in growing and selling local food.
The rules need to ensure that local food and farms can grow and thrive.
Farms work with nature
Don’t let the rules undermine farmers’ sustainability.
The rules need to allow farmers to use sustainable farming practices.
Farms deserve fair treatment.
Don’t let the rules raise costs for farmers, food businesses,and consumers by imposing unclear, inconsistent, and unfair rules.
The rules need to provide options that treat family farms fairly without unnecessary, excessive costs.
The time is NOW to speak out – comments from farmers are the single most important way to fix the FSMA rules.
Everyone has a role in ensuring our nation’s food is safe – from the farmers who grow it to the folks who take it home and prepare it. But unless we act now, these new rules will have a devastating impact on the farmers and businesses responsible for putting fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods on America’s dinner plates – which, in turn, affects our health and well being.
Links for Farmers, Food Hubs, Processors, CSAs:
We’ll be honest: commenting takes a little bit more time than signing a petition. But this is worth a few more minutes of your time – and we’ve developed materials to help you figure out whether you are affected by these rules; what FSMA means for your farm or business; and importantly – what should I say when I comment?
Farmer Comment Template (Word Doc)
Am I Affected?
“Am I Affected?” Flow Chart
Links for Consumers, Farm-to-School & Local Food Advocates
Fresh, local carrots on a middle school salad bar. Perfectly ripe strawberries at your farmers market. Salad mix from the farm down the road in the grocery aisle. Is this the kind of food you like to be able to buy in your community, have in your kitchen, and see on your kids’ lunch trays at school? Stand with farmers and COMMENT TODAY! it takes only a few minutes!
Consumer Comment Template (Word Doc)
Links for Everyone
Here is a list of web materials to help you understand the issues better!
FSMA Action Center
This is still the MAIN site where you can find issue analysis, commenting instructions, and “Am I Affected?” guidance.
Top 10 FSMA Fixes & Fails
NSAC blog post posted this week that gives a quick breakdown of top issues – what FDA fixed and where they fell short
All Comment Templates
This is the companion site where our COMMENT TEMPLATES and simplified instructions are live!
Where to Comment? Regulations.Gov
PRODUCE RULE: http://bit.ly/fsma-pr2
Direct link to the regulations.gov comment box for the Produce Rule
PREVENTIVE CONTROLS RULE: http://bit.ly/fsma-pcr2
Direct link to the regulations.gov comment box for Preventive Controls Rule
We have just under a month to be heard!
COMMENT TODAY and help SPREAD THE WORD!
P.S. If you are having a FSMA related event, let me know & we will help promote it on our facebook & twitter!