HR 2749 – votes upcoming

The latest effort by Congress to push through new food-safety regulations is moving forward today in the form of HR 2749. We’re both tired of trying to keep track of the daily shifts in language and content in these amorphous but far-reaching bills, but the fundamental concern remains the same: These attempts to over-regulate our food system are a one-size-fits-all sledgehammer attempting to regulate every aspect of food productions regardless of size or context, and regardless of the actual danger to Americans posed by various aspects of that food system. The real danger here is that we’ll end up pushing through harsh legislation by playing on the fears of consumers about industrial food, but will end up with laws that won’t fix the real problems but will crush small farms’ independence. Just consider how many corporate food lobbyists have direct access to Congress as compared to folks like us.
Anyway, the Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund is collecting last-minute messages and petition signatures to send on to Congress today. Here’s what we sent to our reps:

My wife and I run a small vegetable farm together, selling at local farmers markets and restaurants in Boone Couny. This is our primary business and we’re working to make a decent living at it. We urge you to oppose all efforts to implement overly strict food safety regulations that will seriously impede our ability to run a good business that grows fresh food for our community. At our scale, food safety is best enforced by the customers who know our faces and our growing methods; we don’t need new Federal rules holding us down when we’re not the ones causing food safety problems in the first place. Please support us, not these overreaching and un-American laws.

Beyond this, we’re just to busy to try to have more of a say. I don’t have any real hope that we’ll get a better system, at this point we’re just hoping not to be driven out of business.

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