FDA Holds Hearings on Food Safety Rules in Maine and VT/NH


Produce growers and farms that minimally process food items or aggregate the produce of other farms can learn more about the Food and Drug Administration's proposed food safety rules at two upcoming hearings. The first will be held August 19 at the Augusta (Maine) State Armory from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The second will be held on the Vermont/New Hampshire border on August 20 at a location to be determined.

New England Farmers Union encourages farmers to attend at least one of the sessions to learn more about the regulations, and to share their concerns with the FDA. Farmers will have the opportunity to ask questions about the Produce Safety and Preventive Control Rules during the session.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), passed in January 2011, represents the most comprehensive reform of food regulation in more than 70 years. New England Farmers Union has been inviting farmers to comment on the rules, many of which will add an untenable layer of cost and complexity for the region's producers.

"Food safety is a good thing," said New England Farmers Union President Roger Noonan, "but the economic impact of these new rules means New England farmers are bearing a disproportionate burden. Producers need to tell their stories to the FDA and let the agency know how their operations will be affected by FSMA."

 "The produce safety rule will mean big changes for Maine produce growers and packers," said Agriculture, Conservation & Forestry Commissioner Walter Whitcomb, who will be the host of the Maine session. "This is an important opportunity to hear from the Food and Drug Administration and offer comments."

Visit New England Farmers Union's website for summaries of FSMA rules, talking points, as well as instructions on how to comment (www.newenglandfarmersunion.org/food-safety-modernization-act/). The website will also provide up-to-date and detailed information on the hearings. You can also stay up to date by signing up for our blog at www.newenglandfarmersunion.org/blog/ and by following us on Facebook and Twitter.

For those not able not attend the listening session, suggested questions may be submitted to New England Farmers Union at info@newenglandfarmersunion.org.