Friday, October 26, 2012

Farm Food Safety Report Shows What States Are Doing to Help Small Farmers

The Colorado Farm to School Task Force legislative mandate is to “study, develop, and recommend policies and methods to best implement a Farm to School program. To further that effort, the Task Force today releases a new report: A Farm Food Safety Toolkit: A Nationwide Survey

In recent years, major outbreaks of illnesses caused by unsafe fruit and vegetable production practices have raised questions about the adequacy of the American food safety system. In response to these food-borne illness occurrences, there has been increased focus by both private and government actors to address farm food safety practices. The federal government has responded to growing concerns around food safety by passing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to improve food safety regulation and to give the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) new enforcement authority. Additionally, private food distributors, wholesale and retail buyers now typically require farmers to meet certain food safety protocol to verify safe growing and handling practices.
However, oftentimes, both private and government approaches to farm food safety do not specifically address food safety issues on small farms selling locally. Instead state agencies and state partners regulate and assist small farms that fall through the gaps of federal and private regulation. This report reflects the findings of a 50 state survey of state-level farm food safety initiatives. The report identifies and summarizes key trends in small farm food safety around the nation to enable growers, policy makers, and consumers to understand the food safety landscape and adopt best practices. The purpose of the report is to demonstrate the diversity and creativity driving farm food safety initiatives across the nation, and to encourage greater information sharing to improve these efforts.

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