Thursday, September 3, 2009

While We Were Sleeping - Food Safety Regulations Creep Forward

Acres U.S.A. - September 2009 p.8 "Farmers Market Crackdown - The Ohio Department of Health/Department of Agriculture has issued a Notice of Violation to farmer Kris Oluich at a farmers market in Lake County. The notice states that it is a violation to offer cleaned and rinsed "lettuce and mixed greens" in a backage. It must be sold dirty, the notice adds. This is due to new rules for "food processing." Since the rules are developed in cooperation with the USDA, it is likely that similar actions will be taking in other states as well."

The push to get food safety legislation passed seems to have died down a bit, but the buerocracy never sleeps. They don't need legislation to develope new rules. So now our locally produced fresh food will be safer because the farmer can't wash it and package it? This isn't food safety, it is an attempt to squeeze the little guys a bit harder to encourage them to go away.

Also in the news. AgDay reported the development of a laser tattoo for use on produce to replace the stickers currently used on supermarket produce. (It was also reported in The process was developed by the Agricultural Research Service, a branch of the USDA. It is still awaiting USDA approval, but is seen as a boon to producers and to food safety. It is supposed to be cleaner than the stickers and would be a permanent identifier, enhancing the traceability of produce and there by making our food "safer."

As I plan my new USDA inspected Class 3 food production facility (so I can wash and bag my lettuce before I take it to my local farmers market) I had better include space for a laser produce tattoo machine. I'm sure it will soon become a rule even if it never becomes law.
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