Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

FDA Still Vague on New Safety Rules for Local Food Systems

Health + Wellness
FDA Still Vague on New Safety Rules for Local Food Systems

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition

On the heels of its release of two new proposed rules for imported food, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given no indication of when it plans to implement a critical piece of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) meant to clarify rules for local food farmers. FSMA requires FDA to clarify that farms that sell food directly to consumers are not food facilities subject to the proposed new hazard analysis and preventive controls requirements released earlier this year.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

“Congress very clearly told FDA to make sure that farms that primarily sell food directly to consumers are not food facilities,” said Ariane Lotti, assistant policy director with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. “Without this clarification, there is a great deal of confusion among farmers about whether they may be subject to both the produce and preventive controls regulations.”

At the heart of the issue are FDA’s proposed definitions of “farm” and “facility.” Farms that grow certain types of produce will be subject to the new produce regulations and facilities that process food will be subject to the new preventive controls requirements. But many farms both grow produce and conduct light processing activities to prepare produce or other crops for sale. As currently written, without the mandated clarification, the new regulations could be interpreted to require a farm that sells directly to consumers through a community-supported agriculture program, at a roadside stand or over the internet to be subject to both the produce and the preventive controls rules.

“Farmers are already worried about the impact of the proposed produce standards on the viability of their farming businesses and on their ability to supply burgeoning demand for fresh, local food,” continued Lotti. “Requiring farms that sell produce directly to consumers to also comply with regulations aimed at food facilities greatly expands the scope of the new regulation of food facilities and conflicts with the statutory directive and with congressional intent. We hope that FDA will release its clarification to the food facilities rule soon.”

In addition to the facilities clarification rule, FDA has yet to release proposed FSMA rules for product traceability and for facilities that manufacture and process animal food.

Visit EcoWatch’s SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE page for more related news on this topic.

——–

Radiation-contaminated water tanks and damaged reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Feb. 25, 2016 in Okuma, Japan. Christopher Furlong / Getty Images

Japan will release radioactive wastewater from the failed Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean, the government announced on Tuesday.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier, aka the doomsday glacier, is seen here in 2014. NASA / Wikimedia Commons / CC0

Scientists have maneuvered an underwater robot beneath Antarctica's "doomsday glacier" for the first time, and the resulting data is not reassuring.

Read More Show Less
Trending
Journalists film a protest by the environmental organization BUND at the Datteln coal-fired power plant in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany on April 23, 2020. Bernd Thissen / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Lead partners of a global consortium of news outlets that aims to improve reporting on the climate emergency released a statement on Monday urging journalists everywhere to treat their coverage of the rapidly heating planet with the same same level of urgency and intensity as they have the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read More Show Less
Airborne microplastics are turning up in remote regions of the world, including the remote Altai mountains in Siberia. Kirill Kukhmar / TASS / Getty Images

Scientists consider plastic pollution one of the "most pressing environmental and social issues of the 21st century," but so far, microplastic research has mostly focused on the impact on rivers and oceans.

Read More Show Less
A laborer works at the site of a rare earth metals mine at Nancheng county, Jiangxi province, China on Oct. 7, 2010. Jie Zhao / Corbis via Getty Images

By Michel Penke

More than every second person in the world now has a cellphone, and manufacturers are rolling out bigger, better, slicker models all the time. Many, however, have a bloody history.

Read More Show Less