At the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, we believe that local and regional food networks do the best job of protecting your family’s health and safety because they deliver fresher, more nutritious foods. That’s why it’s so important that we protect our small and organic food producers from being crushed by regulations meant for industrial farms and factories.
Making ‘Food Safety’ Safe for Small Farms and Local Food
In 2010, CFSA helped lead the successful effort to protect small farms and businesses serving local food markets from new federal authority under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). FSMA gives the US Food and Drug Administration new powers to dictate farming practices for fresh produce, and to put a wide range of food-making businesses out of business. But the legislation was just the first step.
In 2013, the FDA published proposed rules for implementing FSMA. These rules were badly flawed and threatened to put many small, sustainable farmers out of business. CFSA and our allies rallied farmers, entrepreneurs and consumers nation-wide to protest these bad proposals—over 20,000 comments poured in demanding major changes. In another huge victory for our movement, FDA went back to the drawing board.
In fall 2014, FDA issued revised proposed regulations relating to several key issues, including the use of compost and manure, food hubs and cooperatives, the definition of a farm, water standards, animal feed, conservation practices and record-keeping. Again, CFSA and other sustainable ag organization’s rallied local organic farming supporters to demand further changes. The comment period on those rules ended in December, with another 4,000 comments from the public.