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CROP REGULATION

Send a personal message to your legislators through our petition system by clicking on “Oppose HR 2749“. 

Talking Point:  HR 2749 would empower FDA to regulate how crops are raised and harvested.  It puts the federal government right on the farm, dictating to our farmers.

* * * * * * *

Excerpt from June 15 Post by Pete Kennedy(page references to Pallone’s version–See corresponding Waxman’s version at end):

IV.  GROWING STANDARDS

The FSEA will also directly impact produce farmers by authorizing FDA to tell them how they can grow their crops.  The bill would require the HHS Secretary to establish by regulation “science-based standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, sorting, transporting, and holding of raw agricultural commodities that–(1) are from a plant or a fungus; and (2) for which the Secretary has determined that such standards minimize the risk of serious adverse health consequences or death to human or animals.”  [section 104(b), sec 419A(a)–p. 31]

Any issued regulation “may include standards addressing manure use, water quality, employee hygiene, sanitation and animal control, and temperature controls, as the Secretary determines to be reasonably necessary.” [section 104(b), sec 419A(b)(3)–p. 32]

In issuing the regulation, the Secretary “shall take into consideration, consistent with ensuring enforceable public health protection, the impact on small-scale and diversified farms, and on wildlife habitat, conservation practices, watershed-protection efforts, and organic production methods” [section 104(b), sec 419A(b)(7)–pp. 32-33]

Based on the FDA’s track record with “good agricultural practices”, the agency is unlikely to adequately address the differences between industrial operations and sustainable farms.  The danger is that FDA will adopt regulations that treat small farms growing a diversity of crops organically (whether certified or not) the same as a facility growing thousands of acres of a single crop conventionally.  The regulations could be expensive and burdensome, or simply not feasible, for small farms.  Any produce that does not meet the established safety standards would be considered adulterated under the FSEA [section 104(a)–p. 30]. 

Aside from produce, the Secretary is charged with issuing “science-based performance standards . . . applicable to foods or food classes.”   The Secretary is to “identify the most significant foodborne contaminants and the most significant resulting hazards . . .” and “to minimize to an acceptable level, prevent or eliminate the occurrence of such hazards” [section 103(b), sec 419–pp. 29-30].  Food that “has been manufactured, processed, packed, transported, or held under conditions that do not meet [these] standards” is considered as adulterated under the FSEA.  FDA would have the power to make pasteurization of raw milk a performance standard.

* * * * * * *

Waxman’s version (June 17)

* * Pallone section 104(b), sec 419A(a)-p. 31 = Waxman p. 39 [words added in (a)] * *

‘‘SEC. 419A. SAFETY STANDARDS FOR PRODUCE AND CERTAIN OTHER RAW AGRICULTURAL COMMODITIES.

‘‘(a) STANDARDS.—The Secretary shall establish by regulation scientific and risk-based standards for the safe growing, harvesting, processing, packing, sorting, transporting, and holding of those types of raw agricultural commodities—

 ‘‘(1) that are from a plant or a fungus; and

 ‘‘(2) for which the Secretary has determined that such standards are reasonably necessary to minimize the risk of serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals.

* * Pallone section 104(b), sec 419A(b)(3)-p. 32 = Waxman p. 40  * *

‘‘(3) may include standards addressing manure use, water quality, employee hygiene, sanitation and animal control, and temperature controls, as the Secretary determines to be reasonably necessary;

* * Pallone section 104(b), sec 419A(b)(7)-pp. 32-33 = Waxman p. 40 * *

‘‘(7) shall take into consideration, consistent with ensuring enforceable public health protection, the impact on small-scale and diversified farms, and on wildlife habitat, conservation practices, watershed-protection efforts, and organic production methods;

* * Pallone section 103(b), sec 419-pp. 29-30 = Waxman pp. 36-37 [words added in 419(a) & (b)] * *

SEC. 103. PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.

(a) ADULTERATED FOOD.—Section 402 (21 U.S.C. 342), as amended by section 102, is amended by adding at the end the following:

     ‘‘(l) If it has been manufactured, processed, packed, transported, or held under conditions that do not meet the standards issued under section 419.’’.

 (b) REQUIREMENTS.—Chapter IV (21 U.S.C. 341 et seq.), as amended by section 102(b), is further amended by adding at the end the following:

 ‘‘SEC. 419. PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.

‘‘(a) PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.—The Secretary shall, not less frequently than every 2 years, review and evaluate epidemiological data and other appropriate sources of information, including research under section 123 of the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, to identify the most significant food-borne contaminants and the most significant resulting hazards. The Secretary shall issue, as soon as practicable, through guidance or by regulation, science-based performance standards (which may include action levels) applicable to foods or food classes, as appropriate, to minimize to an acceptable level, prevent, or eliminate the occurrence of such hazards. Such standards shall be applicable to foods and food classes.

 ‘‘(b) LIST OF CONTAMINANTS.—Following each review under subsection (a), the Secretary shall publish in the Federal Register a list of food-borne contaminants that have the greatest adverse impact on public health. In determining whether a particular food-borne contaminant should be added to such list, the Secretary shall consider the number and severity of illnesses and the number of deaths associated with the foods associated with such contaminants.

The “Oppose HR 2749” petition is posted at https://ftcldf.org/petitions/pnum993.php

Information provided courtesy Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (www.farmtoconsumer.org)

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