Big factory farms mean big fat problems, just look at the recent Cal-Maine egg recall; 24,000 dozen eggs possibly contaminated with salmonella and now an undercover video showing rampant health violations and animal abuse.
Clearly we need to regulate giant food producers in the United States, but, we also need to protect smaller farms that go about their business without violation and supply their community with fresh local food.
So after much consternation and bickering, the new food safety bill approved by the Senate will have provisions to exempt small farms from costly regulations that could put them out of business.
An agreement facilitated by Senator Jon Tester of Montana would allow farmers who make less than $500,000 a year and sell directly to consumers, local restaurants and supermarkets within their state or within 275 miles of their farm to be exempt from expensive food safety plans imposed on bigger farms. But state and local authorities would still have oversight over these small farms.
Many food safety advocates disagree with the exemptions, saying farm size is not as important as food safety. But lets be honest here, small farms aren't the problem. Big mega operations can sicken thousands, not a tiny family farm.
Fortunately supporters of the bill believe it will help curb large outbreaks, like Cal-Maine's eggs, and prevent unsuspecting consumers from getting sick.
Image credit: JakeBrewer