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leafy greens action

Posted: September 18 2009

Next week begins the first of seven public hearings regarding a proposed National Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement [see USDAyrbk1909plateXXXVFederal Register Notice], that would lay out food safety rules for the growing and marketing of leafy greens. See below for more information about the process and SIGN THE PETITION from NOC member, FOOD & WATER WATCH
The National Organic Coalition (NOC), in collaboration with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) has been working hard on both the proposed legislation (both HR 2749 and now S.510) and participating in these hearings so that food safety guidelines for sustainable, organic, and small farms are reasonable and scale appropriate.
via Food & Water Watch:
Don't let corporate farms dictate the rules!
Don't let scorched earth policies push small farms out.
Tell USDA Food Safety Rules shouldn't be written by the industry!
Is the solution to E. coli contamination in spinach a scorched earth policy that only the biggest farms can follow? We don't think so, but that's just what corporate agribusiness is suggesting. Food safety is serious, and while we need real policy, it shouldn't be written to promote industrial farming. Can you sign a petition to stop the produce industry from writing its own food safety rules?
Shortly after the E. coli outbreak in 2006, the "leafy greens" industry in California got together to try to fix its image, creating something called a marketing agreement for lettuce, spinach, and other leafy greens grown in the state. Problem is, the standards developed by the California marketing agreement board required drastic measures that were most suited to large-scale producers. These measures included trying to keep all wildlife off of farms. Small farms and those that tried to incorporate water quality protection, wildlife habitat preservation, or organic methods found it hard to comply. Even though the marketing agreement is voluntary, it sure doesn't seem that way to farmers if all of their buyers require participation.
Now the biggest players in the produce industry want to take this flawed model national -- they are asking the USDA to let them create a national version of the Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement.
Repeated food safety problems show the need for a conversation about what safety standards are appropriate for foods like leafy greens, but letting the industry create its own rules and turn food safety into a marketing tool is not going to get us there.
Tell USDA you don't want the produce industry to write its own food safety rules.


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