~Farmer Friday: Food safety and Big Bear Farms~
It’s our last Farmer Friday! Today we are chatting about food safety!
Each Friday in November and December, we are excited to bring you stories of what Florida Organic Growers (FOG) has accomplished in the organic and farming industry and how its impacted farmers, consumers and the community while spotlighting farmers in Florida who have benefitted from our work.
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is the first major overhaul of our nation’s food safety regulations since 1938 and it includes new requirements for produce farms and for facilities that process produce and many other types of food for people to eat.
FSMA was signed into law in January 2011. It gives the FDA broad new powers to prevent food safety problems, detect and respond to food safety issues, and improve the safety of imported foods. Specifically, FSMA requires FDA to establish new regulations for standards for produce production (the Produce Rule) and food safety measure for facilities that process food for human consumption (Preventative Controls Rule).
After receiving tens of thousands of comments last year, FDA announced that they would re-propose parts of two main rules. FDA just ended their comment period two weeks ago for the re-proposed rules.
FOG has been at the forefront in advocating for revising of the FSMA rules and our partnership with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has allowed us to reach the masses about food safety and its costly burden on family farmers.
It was vital for farmers, consumers, and food advocates to comment as there is a real risk these rules will put farmers and food entrepreneurs out of business and make sustainable and organic agriculture, local food, and conservation efforts collateral damage.
Big Bear Farms, a Certified Organic blueberry and vegetable farm in Plant City, will be greatly affected by these new rules.
“FDA took the strictest regulations and applied it to all farms. Many rules they are proposing do not apply to smaller farms,” said Ken Der, owner of Big Bear Farms.
“The cost to the smaller farms has to be minimal otherwise it will put us out of business.”
The farm is also certified for Produce GAPs Harmonized Food Safety Standard for Field Operations and Harvesting. Both certifications are with Quality Certification Services, a certification program under FOG.
If FMSA doesn’t work for ALL farmers, then it doesn’t work for safe food, and it doesn’t work for us.
Please join us as we continue to advocate for family farms and become a FOG member today!