The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) represents the first major overhaul of U.S. food-safety practices since 1938. Advocates of farm-to-table and sustainability practices are concerned that availability and cost of fresh produce will be adversely affected if the legislation is enacted as presently proposed.
The second period for online public comment on proposed new food safety rules imposed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), through the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), will end December 15.
Advocates of farm-to-table and sustainability practices are urging food providers in all segments to post comments urging a rethinking of the rules, warning that “fresh produce could be a lot harder to find locally if the FDA doesn’t make needed revisions to its draft rules.”
As currently proposed, these advocates contend, the rules could:
- Unfairly burden local and regional food hubs and community-supported agricultural associations (CSAs) and limit opportunities for family farmers to launch and grow their businesses
- Undermine sustainability by making it harder for farmers to use sustainable methods to protect soil, water and wildlife
- Raise costs by imposing major expenses on small farms and food businesses.
In general, farm-to-table and sustainability proponents contend, the new rules as currently proposed in the FSMA “lack fairness, clarity, and consistency.”
“The FSMA includes new regulations for produce farms and for facilities that process food for people to eat,” says the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). “It represents some big changes to our food system—and it is extremely important for the Food and Drug Administration to get these regulations right.”
NSAC is providing additional information and guidance for providing comments at two websites, http://sustainableagriculture.net/fsma/ and http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/5735/p/salsa/web/common/public/content?content_item_KEY=10057
“We have the chance to fix FSMA so that the rules support a healthier and more just, sustainable food system,” NSAC says on its site.