Local Foods

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Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance Statement on Food Safety

Food safety is a priority for every person, and FARFA supports efforts to protect the safety of the American food supply.

The major outbreaks of foodborne illnesses have all been traced to industrial-scale food producers and processors shipping to multiple states or across international boundaries. In several cases, the outbreaks have resulted from failure to comply with existing laws and regulations and/or failure by the government to properly inspect the food.

In contrast to the industrial agricultural system, local food systems provide significant food safety benefits due to the limited scale and distribution and the increased traceability and accountability inherent in these systems. There has been no evidence of significant food safety problems due to farms or food processors selling in local markets.

A local, diversified food system can provide critical access to food in cases of a terrorism attack or natural disaster. Local food systems also increase food security, benefit the local economy, reduce reliance on oil, and provide other economic, social, and environmental benefits. Direct marketing and other local distribution options provide increased economic opportunity for producers, while also providing consumers with options for nutritious, fresh food.

Despite the critical differences between industrial agriculture and local agriculture, bills before Congress typically apply a one-size-fits-all approach to food safety. Moreover, the USDA and FDA have frequently promoted programs, including the National Animal Identification System, Good Agricultural Practices, and proposed leafy green protocols, which benefit industrial agriculture at the expense of local agriculture.

The bills and programs fail to address the source of the problems within the industrial agriculture system and would impose unfair and onerous burdens on local food sources. The result would be to drive small farms and food processors out of business, depriving consumers of the option to purchase safe, fresh, and healthy foods from the producers of their choice.

Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance therefore resolves to work to advance food safety policies that:
  1. Enforce existing food safety laws first;
  2. Focus on high-risk food production, in particular imports and large processing facilities that ship foods to multiple states;
  3. Are scale-sensitive, ensuring that small farms and processors are not unfairly disadvantaged;
  4. Support the continued development of local food systems; and
  5. Provide options for direct marketing between consumers and food producers.

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