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Letter to Senate on Food Safety Bill

Oregon Tilth joined many partner organizations in signing a letter written to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions providing recommendations on Senate Bill 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act. The letter was submitted by NSAC (National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition) on Nov. 16.

On November 16, 2009, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) submitted a letter to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions proposing recommendations on refining the Food Safety Modernization Act. The panics over salmonella, E. Coli and unsafe foodstuffs from China have heightened the prospects that Congress will pass this measure, but hopefully not before some major revisions. Even though the Food Safety Modernization Act would help in the prevention of food-borne illness, it could unintentionally have a negative impact on family farms, environmental conservation, organic farming and emerging local and regional food systems. The measure states that anyone selling or storing food of any type for transmission to third parties via the act of commerce will have to register with a new federal regulatory agency, submit to federal inspections, and, perhaps most significant, keep copious records of sales and shipment by lot and label. Penalties for infractions will be hefty, as well. This type of system may work for larger operations, but is sure to drive out small farmers and other small scale producers.

Oregon Tilth and dozens of other organizations signed on to show their support for a food system is in need of significant reform.

Read the letter (.pdf) sent to the Senate to find out the impact of the Bill and proposed recommendations.

Learn more about the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

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