I typically don't put on my political hat, but this is something I just can't ignore.
So; have any of you been following the 2009 Food Safety Enhancement Bill HR 2749? I have and it has me very concerned, I have attached a brief of it, worth the reading as it may really change how we do business next year. Read on please.
Catherine Wissner, Wild Winds Sheep Company, Wyoming
"I Live in the garden; I just sleep in the house." Land of the Free, because of the Brave.
On August 3, 2009 HR 2749, The Food Safety Enhancement Act was submitted to the US Senate, the Senate referred this bill to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions for recommendations. HR 2749 was passed by the House with little to no public review or input. Your help is needed to prevent this bill from being passed by the Senate into law. Below is a very brief summary of HR 2749.
HR 2749 targets without reference to size or scope of farms "devoted to the growing and harvesting of crops, the raising of animals... or both" including an operation that manufactures grains or other feed stuffs that are grown and harvested on such farm .. For consumption as food by humans or animals" harvesting also includes "washing, trimming of outer leaves of, and cooling produce."
The bill will require a unique FDA identifier for that facility, it will allow the FDA to inspect the facility and audit books. It will mandate a $500 yearly fee that will be annually "adjusted to reflect the greater of; the percentage change that occurred in the Consumer Price Index for all urban consumer" or "the total percentage change for the previous fiscal year in basic pay for Federal employees stationed in the District of Columbia" or "The average annual change in the cost, per full-time equivalent position of the FDA of all personnel compensation and benefits paid with respect to such positions for the first 5 years of the preceding 6 fiscal years." Registration fees will be due on December 31 of each year. Fees will be used to defray the cost of food safety activities in order to solicit the views of the regulated industry, consumers and other interested stakeholders.
This bill will require the owner, operator or agent of a facility to conduct a hazard analysis, implement effective preventive controls...maintain records of monitoring, corrective action and verifications records and identify "hazards that is reasonably likely to occur". It also requires a food safety plan and a food defense plan.
HR2749 also allows for the establishment by "regulation scientific and risk-based food safety standards for the growing, harvesting, procession, packing, sorting, transporting and hold of those types of raw agricultural commodities..that are fruit, vegetable, nut, or fungus: and for which the Secretary has determined that such standards are reasonable necessary.." It may also include standards addressing manure use, water quality and animal control...as determined by the Secretary."
The bill does have one paragraph that proclaims; "shall take into consideration,..impact on small-scale and diversified farms, wildlife habitat...and organic production methods."
Civil penalties under this bill start at $20,000 and can go as high at $7,500,000. This bill was introduced into the House of Representative on June 8, 2009 and passed by the House on July 30, 2009. This bill is being "fast tracked" through our US Congress.
As a result of this bill passing the US House my farm insurance premiums have already gone up, I sell at the Farmer's Market and to various restaurants. If this bill passes it will put me out of business and many other just like me, so much for the local smaller carbon foot print movement of food.
For a Current Version of the bill
To contact you state senators go to this web site;