for our email newsletter

Posts Tagged ‘FSMA’

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.

We encourage you to join us as a member to allow us to continue this invaluable work.

The Food Safety Modernization Act and Big Bear Farms

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. blueberry_bushes1_250x166

“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!


Do you want a sustainable food and farm future?

Love your local farmers market? The future of all farms that sell at farmers markets could be jeopardy thanks to the upcoming Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

FSMA is the first major overhaul of our nation’s food safety practices since 1938. It includes new regulations for produce farms and for facilities that process food for people to eat. Florida Organic Growers supports the efforts to create a safer food system however FSMA could be incredibly detrimental to small and sustainable and organic farms.

The new proposed rules were written to apply to large farms and processors. They are at risk of placing an unfair burden on small family farmers, targeting sustainable and organic farming, and reducing the availability of fresh, local food in our communities. This is unacceptable. New food safety rules make compliance so costly that the FDA itself predicts it will drive some farmers out of business. In the long run, that means fewer people will start to farm, and more farmers will have to seek off-farm jobs to keep farming.

Tell the FDA we need rules that work for farmers! The comment period ends next Friday, November 15!

Here is how YOU can help:


  • Check out the National Coalition of Sustainable Agriculture’s FSMA website to get up to speed on just what these rules will mean for producers and processors.
  • Start asking questions – how might these rules impact me? The people I work with? The farmers I know?


  • Submit your own comments to FDA! Click here to begin! Reminder, the comment period ends next Friday, November 15!
  • Tell the FDA to align rules with current National Organic Program rules!
  • Ask why pesticides and GMO’s aren’t considered a possible risk to food safety!
  • Every comment helps, no matter how short. Don’t be intimidated by complexities of the law!
  • Encourage allies, stakeholders, and others to reach out and to submit comments! Anyone who is involved in any aspect of our food system needs to know about – and comment on – these rules. Especially small farmers!

If you want a sustainable food and farm future – one where sustainable and organic farms thrive, everyone has access to fresh, healthy food, and farming works hand-in-hand with protecting our natural resources – you need to take action NOW!

#fixFSMA today!

FDA Proposes New Food Safety Rules

Posted on:

January 4, 2011 –  The Food and Drug Administration released a proposal that has the potential to be a major step in the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which President Obama signed into law two years ago.  These proposed rules detail the standards for produce safety and human food production standards, the first significant update to our nation’s food safety laws since the 1930s.

When writing S.510 (111th), Congress needed to be sure that the bill’s regulations work for small businesses and mid sized farms alike to accommodate the diverse sectors of American agriculture. Congress assured, in the proposed standards, that the reporting requirements and prevention planning requirements could be accomplished without costly investments.

“With the aim of improving food safety through FSMA, Congress rejected a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to food safety regulations,” said Ariane Lotti, Assistant Policy Director with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.  “Which would put small and mid-sized farm operations out of business, consolidate agricultural markets, and eliminate opportunities for food and farm entrepreneurs in emerging sectors of agriculture – including organic and local and regional food systems. Ultimately, we want to ensure a safe food supply, strong on-farm conservation of natural resources, and thriving family farms.” Read more on NSAC’s Blog>>