News & Media :: Daily Log
Leadership in Action
Jun 25, 2010
The "Leadership in Action" award goes to Daniel Cohen, Maccabee Seed Company in Davis, California, for his cogent, official comments to the FDA docket on proposed new food safety rules governing production of fresh fruits and vegetables.
There is much at stake as the FDA completes its rule-making process designed to codify new food safety "Good Agricultural Practices." In additon, the Congress is poised to pass major new food safety legislation in the next two months that will trigger another round of rule-making and undoubtedly lead to substantial new requirements on all farmers, organic and conventional, big and small.
The fear in the organic community is that food safety problems with their roots in industrial-scale production, handling, and marketing systems will trigger an avalanche of new, costly regulations and testing requirements imposed on everyone growing and selling fresh produce, and that moreover, these new requirements will likely make a modest, if any, difference in the frequency of produce-triggered illness outbreaks because they are targeted at things other than the true roots of the problem.
But new FDA-imposed rules may be sufficient to drive many small and moderate scale producers out of business, despite the fact that the seeds of solutions to many of the broader problems with the safety and quality of the American food supply are most likely to be found on moderate and small scale organic farms.
Thanks to Dan Cohen for getting "on the record" several critical questions and comments about the path forward to a safer food supply. Let's hope the FDA takes Cohen's comments seriously and that my old friend Mike Taylor will give them a thoughtful read.