FSMA Action For Farmers And Processors

Stand Up Today for Food and Farms!

The US Food and Drug Administration has proposed new rules this year that will have a huge impact on how fresh fruits and vegetables are grown and processed in the US. This is a big deal for farmers and eaters! Everyone has a role in ensuring safe food from field to fork – but FDA’s new proposed rules as written will unfairly burden family farmers, target sustainable and organic farming, and reduce the availability of fresh, local food in our communities. Right now, we have a chance to tell FDA that this is unacceptable – and we need your help to do it.

FSMA Action for Farmers and Processors

Get Informed

Farmers and local food businesses are facing a serious threat from massive new food safety regulations proposed this year by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In its push to write new food safety rules based on the Food Safety Modernization Act passed by Congress, FDA is threatening to make sustainable and organic agriculture, local food, and farm conservation efforts collateral damage! If you grow produce – fruits or vegetables – and/or process produce in any form for people to eat, you may be affected by these proposed rules.

If you grow fresh fruits or vegetables – or pack, process, store, or manufacture food for people – these rules may impact your business. Some businesses may not be affected at all, some may be affected by one rule, and some may be affected by both rules. Everyone still can and should comment!

Top 10 Problems with FSMA for Farmers and Local Food Businesses

  1. They’re too expensive.The rules could cost farmers over half of their profits and will keep beginners from starting to farm.
  2. They treat farmers unfairly.FDA is claiming broad authority to revoke small farmers’ protections without any proof of a public health threat.
  3. They will reduce access to fresh, healthy food.Local food distributors like food hubs could close, and new food businesses will not launch. 
  4. They make it harder for farms to diversify.Grain, dairy, and livestock farmers could be denied access to emerging local food markets. 
  5. They will over-regulate local food.The rules could consider farmers markets, roadside stands, and community-supported agriculture programs “manufacturing facilities” subject to additional regulation.
  6. They treat pickles like a dangerous substance.The rules fail to protect a host of low-risk processing activities done by smaller farms and processors.
  7. They make it nearly impossible to use natural fertilizers like manure and compost.Farmers will be pushed to use chemicals instead of natural fertilizers. 
  8. They require excessive water testing on farms.Farmers using water from streams and lakes will be required to pay for weekly water tests regardless of risk or cost.
  9. They could harm wildlife and degrade our soil and water.The rules could force farmers to halt safe practices that protect our natural resources and wildlife. 
  10. Bonus: there’s at least one good thing about the rules.The rules take an ‘integrated’, not a ‘commodity-specific’ approach – meaning farmers won’t face over 30 separate rules for each kind of fresh produce they grow. FDA needs to keep this good decision in the final rules!

Download and share a PDF version of this top 10 list – with details and citations for each issue.

Take Action

Make Your Voice Heard: Submit a Comment to FDA Today!

FDA is seeking comments from the public – and farmers and local food businesses have the most at stake. The #1 most important thing you can do to help fix FSMA is take a few minutes RIGHT NOW to submit a comment to FDA either online or through the mail. Use the sample comment below to get started! It is important to personalize your comment – FDA will read every single submission, and unique comments have the most impact.

Submit (or postmark) your comment by the deadline: November 15, 2013!

Step 1 – Get informed and determine how you may be affected by the rules – some farmers and processors may be eligible for exemptions or modified requirements, but even if so, the rules could still impact you! 

 

Step 2 – Customize the comment below for yourself! There are guiding questions to help you tell your story effectively to FDA. Remember that there is more detailed information online about each of the 10 issues here. You can pick and choose – feel free to include in your comment letter whichever issues below are most important to you – all ten or just a few. 

Step 3 – Submit your comment in TWO places – to the Produce Rule (http://bit.ly/fsma-pr) and to the Preventive Controls Rule (http://bit.ly/fsma-pcr). This is important because these issues affect both rules. You can get extra help with instructions for using regulations.gov and for mailing a comment here.

Step 4 – Take a stand publicly and sign our FSMA petition! Then use the social media tools below to help spread the word!

Sample Comment for Farmers

[DOWNLOAD THE FULL COMMENT TEMPLATE HERE]

Re: Preventive Controls Rule: FDA-2011-N-0920, Produce Standards Rule: FDA-2011-N-0921

I am a ____ [farmer, entrepreneur, processor, parent…]. [Customize your comment with your story: What is the name and location of your farm? What do you grow? How long have you been in operation? Where do you sell your products and how do you already ensure their safety?]

I am writing because I am concerned about the impact that FDA’s proposed FSMA rules will have on [my farm / business operation, the practices I use on my farm, other farmers in my community, the farms that I buy food from, etc…]. I ask you to ensure that new regulations do not put safe farms out of business, harm farmers’ soil, water, and wildlife conservation efforts, or shut down the growth of local and regional healthy food systems!

Because of all of the specific issues described below, I urge FDA to publish a second round of draft rules for public comment before finalizing the produce safety and preventive controls regulations.

I am specifically concerned about the following issues:

[DOWNLOAD THE FULL COMMENT TEMPLATE FOR A LIST OF ISSUES, GUIDING QUESTIONS, and SUGGESTED RECOMMENDATIONS TO FDA.]

Submit (or postmark) your comment by the deadline: November 15, 2013!

Spread the Word

Check out NSAC’s Facebook page and Twitter feed for more news and opportunities to spread the word. Get more ideas for spreading the word – from hosting a comment potluck to sharing news with your CSA members to speaking out in the media – here.