News from National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition: New Food Safety Rule Threatens Small Farms Again
Remember the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that passed last year? We won a hard fought battle, securing appropriate food safety rules for small-to-midsized farms and processors producing fresh and healthy food for local and regional markets.
Now, out of left field, a marketing agency – the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) — has issued a proposed national food safety rule for spinach, lettuce, and cabbage, despite the fact that AMS does not have food safety jurisdiction or staff.
And the protections for the small and medium sized farms that make up our nations vibrant local food system? …. Not there.
The most powerful “Big Ag” players in the leafy green industry are pushing the National Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (NLGMA) and there is little trust among small-to-medium, diversified, and organic farmers that this will serve them well. The sellers, processors, or distributors that sign on to the rule will compel farmers they purchase from to comply with its standards. The rule adds a second and conflicting layer of food safety standards and audits on top of FDA food safety rules.
This confusing and duplicative rule could effectively shut small and mid-sized farmers out of the leafy greens market.