Local Food Doesn't Mean Safe Food, FoodQualityNews, November 23, 2010
In speaking about the Food Safety Modernization Act S.510, she says:
"The amendment, put forward by Senator Jon Tester (D-MO) would exempt businesses that bring in less than $500,000 a year."I thought it was less than $500,000 in three years. Still, I agree with her that half a million dollars of revenue seems to be getting away from a cottage industry.
This point she raises about "local" is worth a comment:
"And after some protest that a 400-mile radius was too broad, the definition of ‘local’ in the Tester Amendment was narrowed to 275 miles. Since when was Washington, D.C. (comfortably) local to New York City? Even if it is, where’s the evidence that local, family businesses make safer food?"What mileage constitutes "local?" Is food miraculously unsullied if it is grown or raised under 250 miles, but suspect over 250? Where does that number come from?
And what if the person buying the "local" product turns around and sells it to someone further away? Is it still "safe?" If not, is it now exempted from being exempted? When does oversight kick in, if at all? This Tester Amendment has added a layer of complexity that doesn't have to be there.
Via Bill Marler:
"It was selling spinach wholesale from a small, organic farm that caused the 2006 spinach outbreak. Twenty-five acres of an organic spinach farm sold to a wholesaler, who sold to a manufacturer. The fecal contamination with E. coli O157:H7 was introduced at the spinach farm and amplified at manufacturer."Would the supplier of that spinach have qualified for an exemption? (See update.) I don't know ... maybe not. But I can imagine farms springing up designed explicitly to fall within exemption criteria - whose food ends up being consumed beyond that inviolate 250 miles.
Update: My original post incorrectly named Earthbound Organic Farm as the spinach supplier.