Be Food Smart did a story on  The Food Safety Modernization Act (S510) in August. It appears that S510 will be voted on in the Senate as early as Wednesday, Nov. 17. This bill would impose extremely burdensome and unnecessary requirements on the thousands of small farmers and food processors who are producing safe foods for their local communities. If passed, small farms would be subject to similar paperwork, reporting and inspection requirements to that of farms hundreds of times bigger. These requirements could pose such a large hardship on family farms that many could go out of business.  Remember, this could affect virtually everything you buy at your local farmer’s market. Small family farms are not the problem with our country’s food safety!

A key amendment sponsored by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) would exempt small farmers who direct market more than 50% of their products. These famers must have gross sales (direct and non-direct combined) of less than $500,000, and sell to consumers, stores, or restaurants that are in-state or within 400 miles. This amendment is especially important for off-farm retail locations such as farmers markets and CSAs.

Please call your Senators today (most offices have voice mail where you can leave a message) and ask them to support the Tester Amendment on the Food Safety bill.

If you are a farmer this is important to protect your livelihood. If you are a consumer, where will you buy your safe and nutritious food if your local farmers are forced out of business?

How to Take Action:

  1. Go to Congress.org and type in your zip code in the box in the upper right hand corner.
  2. Click on your Senator’s name, and then on the contact tab for their phone number. You can also call the Capitol Switchboard and ask to be directly connected to your Senator’s office: 202-224-3121.
  3. Leave a voice mail message.
  4. Be sure to include your name and phone number.

This is the voice mail message you can leave as recommended by the Cornucopia Institute:

“I am a constituent of Senator___________. I ask that he/she support the Tester Amendment to the food safety bill. The Tester Amendment will exempt the safest, small, owner-operator farms and food facilities and farmers who direct market their products to consumers, stores or restaurants. Food safety legislation should not create inappropriate and costly regulatory barriers to family farms and the growing healthy food movement in the drive to crack down on corporate bad actors. Please support the Tester Amendment and market opportunities for small and mid-sized family farms, and small food processing facilities.”