FDA Food Safety Modernization Act

If you’ve been following the saga of the Food Safety Modernization Act as it moves through Congress, you’ve surely heard rumors, truths or threats, and as a small farmer, you might worry about what this means for you.

If you’ve been following the saga of the Food Safety Modernization Act as it moves through Congress, you’ve surely heard rumors, truths or threats, and as a small farmer, you might worry about what this means for you.

Here’s some background on the bill which was passed by the Senate earlier today. The House of Representatives will have the final vote before it goes to President Obama for final approval.

In a nutshell, this bill is an update on FDA regulations ensuring that food is raised and prepared safely and origins are traceable. While this seems like a measure to ensure public safety, a number of small produce farmers and lobbyists opposed the bill because of the regulation costs family farms would need to pay to ensure that products are traceable. The final bill passed today with an amendment exempting “small farms that sell less than $500,000 worth of food and which sell most of their food locally.”

From what I can tell, not much should change on the local grower or backyard gardener side. Contrary to the rumors, it will NOT be illegal to grow your own food and it does NOT appear that farmer’s markets will be outlawed. What the bill will do to produce prices is yet unknown, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see some price spikes when the law goes into effect.

What do you think about the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act? Please share your thoughts or additional information with a comment below.

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