Don’t think you need buy organic meat? Think again. The US FDA released an estimate on the amount of antibiotics given to farm animals in the United States. The grand total is over 29 MILLION pounds in 2009!
2009 was the first year the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine required sales and distribution data of antimicrobial drugs approved for food-producing animals (cattle, poultry, swine) including:
“…(1) the amount of each antimicrobial active ingredient by container size, strength, and dosage form; (2) quantities distributed domestically and quantities exported; and (3) a listing of the target animals, indications, and production classes that are specified on the approved label of the product…”
If we take cattle as an example, we know that they are meant to forage grass and digest it through their multi-chamber stomachs. Today’s commercially raised cows are fed a diet of corn, wheat, barley, sorghum, and likely never see a fresh blade of grass in their lifetime. They are eating a diet that they were not meant to eat and this has led to a situation
Yesterday, the House agreed to the Senate amendments on the Food Safety Bill HR 2751 by a vote of 215 Yeas and 144 Nays. The FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act (formerly S.510 and HR 3082) has taken a dramatic number of twists and turns through our judicial system over the last 4 months.
There have been many questions surrounding small farms. Was a version of the Tester Amendment included? Are small farms a part of the bill or are they exempt? The final amendment defines a food establishments as:
“… the term ‘‘retail food establishment… (A) the sale of such food products or food directly to consumers by such establishment at a roadside stand or farmers’ market where such stand or market is located other than where the food was manufactured or processed; (B) the sale and distribution of such food through a community supported agriculture program…”
After reading the exception section (page 18), it does appear that “very small businesses,” small farms, and small facilities with average sales of less than $500,000 (adjusted for inflation) are exempt from some of the requirements.
Click to see the actual full text amendment. At this point we wait to see if the president will sign the bill (all signs are indicating that he will). Want to know how your representative voted? See the full list of votes here.
Library of Congress
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?
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.”
More food safety in the US sounds good, right? Well, depends on who you are. The US Senate is considering a Food Safety Bill S510 that would change the system of food safety in America. One of the major issues with this bill is that all the provisions, restrictions and requirements would apply to small farmers and small food producers (think farmer’s market fruit, veggies, jam, pie, nuts, eggs, etc.). If put into law, this WILL affect your access to some of these foods.
Laws to manage food-borne illnesses such as E.coli and salmonella sound appealing until you think about what causes them. The majority of offenders in this area are mega farms and huge food producers. Rather than create new regulation to stop many mega farming practices (such as widespread use of antibiotics, gigantic feedlots, slaughterhouse contamination, nitrogen heavy fertilizers, dangerous pesticides, un-natural feed, use of genetically modified seeds) that may contribute to food safety issues, the solution put forth is to apply an already broken system to all farmers and food producers.
For a small family farm, having similar regulations as large food manufacturers will no doubt present an undue hardship. Many farms will have to deal with
Need to cook a bunch of veggies from your garden or farmers market? Roasting is one of our favorite dinners.
We like to use whatever vegetables are in season. Last night we did: purple, yellow and red small potatoes, beets, sweet and red onions, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and yellow squash. We also steamed our first homegrown artichoke! All these glorious vegetables made for a healthy and beautiful dinner.
Mike’s Roasted Vegetable Recipe