Many thanks to all of you who took the time to write or call your Congressional representatives last week to express concern about the adverse impact that the Food Safety Enhancement Bill of 2009 H.R. 2749 would have on small scale farmers. While the bill moves us in the right direction, it does place a disproportionate burden on small farmers for safety concerns that are overwhelmingly caused by large scale agriculture interests.
While the bill overwhelmingly passed on a floor vote last week, with many of our concerns not included, we are encouraged by the amount of attention the issue is receiving. Our next step is the Senate (in September after the summer recess is concluded) and then conference (where House and Senate bills are reconciled).
It is important to note that our concerns were heard by many in the House, and were raised in discussion. We will keep you posted on when and how to keep the pressure on. We all want safe food, but not at the expense of compromising small farmers.
In the meantime, those of you who are interested in learning more about the bill’s provisions, steps it takes to rein in corporate interests that are putting millions of consumers at risk, and the disproportionate burden placed on the backs of small scale farmers, can read Tom Philpott’s article, published in Grist on July 29th: With House Food Safety Bill a Done Deal, Questions Remain.