Thursday, March 26, 2009

Good Tomatoes

I want good tomatoes. I want small business to thrive. From the Crunchy Con Rod Dreher:

The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 attempts to streamline the unwieldy federal food regulation system, as does the similar Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act of 2009. Both, however, are written as a "one size fits all" bill that would ramp up fees and regulation on all producers of food (and, in the case of the latter, drugs and cosmetics). The little guy who sells homegrown tomatoes or homemade soap at the farmers market would be subject to the same regulation as industrial giants, without the resources to implement it.

Small farming has become popular in the past few years, not only because a growing number of consumers want food that tastes better but also because they want food they can believe in. According to the 2007 USDA farm census, more than 300,000 new farms have opened since 2002. Most are small, started by young farmers meeting a rising market demand. Though there has been some unhelpful Internet hysteria surrounding the issue, it's true that this progress is at risk.

From earlier in the column:

"There are legitimate problems that the large commercial producers — the peanut factory that ships around the country — those need to be better regulated," said Judith McGeary, an Austin lawyer and board member of the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund. "What we need is a very explicit, unambiguous, clear and broad exemption for small farmers and small producers — people who are making jams and breads for the local farmers market."

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

I want good tomatoes, too. Here's hoping the statute is amended to exempt small operations. This hasn't even been discussed in committee, yet, right?

Have you read Omnivore's Dilemma? Pollan touches on the ways that our farm/food policy/law makes small/local/organic food production more difficult when it's what we "should" be encouraging.