Organic fruits and vegetables at the farmers market

Organic fruits and vegetables at the farmers market

Fears Surrounding Food Safety Legislation Are Overblown

We all want our food to be safe. That’s a no-brainer.

But will the push for new laws and increased oversight hurt organic farmers, consumers of fresh local foods and even backyard gardeners in the rush to fix the nation’s food safety problems?

That’s what The Cornucopia Institute a Wisconsin-based organic food and agriculture watchdog, is keeping a close eye on.

Rumor v. Reality

The controversy has centered around one of the pending bills, The Food Safety Modernization Act (HR 875)sponsored by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT). The bill has sparked a flurry of viral internet and email agitation, with some warning the agribusiness and biotechnology lobbyists are conspiring to pass legislation outlawing organic farming and home gardens.

We spoke to Will Fantle, a spokesperson from The Cornucopia Institute to clear the air.

Mr. Fantle told us that while there are some concerns – primarily that a ‘one size fits all’ approach to food safety legislation will simply not work – the reaction has been alarmist. “The outrage shows that there’s a deep well of support for farmers and CSAs which is great,” he admits, “but it needs to be directed towards positive actions.”

“Our food safety system is broken,” he admits, going on to note that his organization, and many others like it, will do their best to protect organic and local farmers from overly burdensome food safety legislation that might hinder their trade.

With the government focusing on climate change and healthcare legislation, the food safety legislation has been back-burnered until June.  We’ll keep you posted.

Until then, an action alert released by Cornucopia provides talking points and guidance for consumers and farmers interested in contacting their legislators to urge protection of organic and local food production.  It can be found on Cornucopia’s web page at http://www.cornucopia.org/2009/03/action-alert-critical-pending-food-safety -legislation.

Let us know what you think about the most recent food safety legislation…we love hearing from you!

Read more about Food Safety from our Organic Blog:

Factory Farms Pose Unacceptable Risks
Pork Wars
FDA Makes Food Safety a Priority
Fundamental Flaws in Food Safety
Father-in-Chief Joins Ranks of Concerned Parents
Factory Farms Under Fire
Big Agribusiness Dictating U.S. Food Safety