Letter to the Editor

Food-safety bill is local burden

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Since the recall of products produced by the Peanut Corporation of America, the issue of food safety has come to the attention of the federal government. HR 875, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, is an attempt by the federal government to address food-safety issues. While food safety is certainly crucial, this bill is a one-size-fits-all attempt at addressing the issue without consideration of small family farms, local producers and backyard gardeners. If passed, this legislation could be detrimental to farmers markets and small local producers.

There are major differences in large profit-at-all-cost food producers and small family farms. Aside for the economic impact of our farming neighbors, we will lose the quality of food that has been grown by people who care about our food and environment.

Locally grown foods are fresher and are generally higher in quality than those grown hundreds of miles away. In many cases, the types of produce that are available in the supermarket are varieties that are produced for better shipping, not taste or nutritional value. Locally grown foods are also better for the environment. The average food item is shipped over 1000 miles from producer to the grocery store.

While food safety should be addressed, there needs to be legislation with scale appropriate measures that will not unduly burden our local producers and favor large factory farms. Please call your federal legislators and ask them to oppose HR 875.

BECKY BROWN, Cape Girardeau