Thursday, August 15, 2013

Ruh roh! Things getting difficult for small farms...., reposted by Melinda

This is actually a repost by Brian Snyder, of PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture), of a post by two local farmers, Michael Tabor and Nick Maravell. It concerns the considerable negative impact the regulations of FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) will have on small family farms, CSAs,  farmers' markets, and so forth.

The issues concern "dirt." We all know that most produce grows in fields of dirt. The farmers wash the produce before selling it, and the consumer washes it again at home before using. Our bodies *need* a certain amount of "dirt" to maintain a healthy balance of intestinal bacteria.

But Big Agriculture wants to sanitize produce and other foods, disinfecting it, irradiating it, and bagging or wrapping it in airtight plastic. If you follow the news, you know that harmful bacterial infections develop *not* in the naturally grown and washed foods that small farmers sell, but in those supposedly sanitized, sealed bags of veggies that you find at supermarkets, chain stores like Trader Joe's, and so forth. Here's a story about the recent cyclospora outbreak found in sealed packages of produce that sickened more than 500 people:
Credit: Nati Harnik/AP Photo (source)
Here's a similar story of salads served at Olive Garden sickening 100s of people:

To read Brian Snyder's repost of the brilliant discussion by two farmers about these issues, please see Brian's blog, "Write to Farm": It's a very good read indeed.


  1. Very interesting! And I always try to be so conscious of washing vegetables and fruit!

    1. I know, Sr. Ann Marie, we always wash ours too!