Sunday, July 17, 2011

National Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement Threatens Small Growers

"Big Ag" is at it Again
The most powerful “Big Ag” players in the leafy green industry are pushing the National Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (NLGMA).   The sellers, processors, and distributors that sign on to the rule will require that the farmers they purchase from comply with its standards. The rule adds a second and conflicting layer of food safety standards and audits on top of FDA food safety rules.
This confusing and duplicative rule could effectively shut small and mid-sized farmers out
of the leafy greens market
.  Tell the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to withdraw their unnecessary and confusing rule.

Add your comments to USDA using the link below and then click on the submit button.  Use the following talking points to help compose your comment.  It is best, however, if you use your own words.

1.    The Agricultural Marketing Service is NOT a food safety agency and it should leave food safety regulation to the Food and Drug Administration.   AMS staff is made up of economists and marketing specialists who convene industry to reach agreement on orderly marketing of produce.  They are NOT food safety scientists.

2.    The governance structure for this agreement is dominated by processors and distributers and provides only token representation for farmers and consumers.  The standards developed under this rule are likely to be driven by the most powerful voices and the largest players in the leafy greens market to the detriment of small and mid-sized farmers and processors.

3.    Consumers expect food safety standards to apply to all produce, not just those subject to a marketing agreement.  Food safety should not be used to gain a competitive advantage in the market place.

4.    If a final rule is issued it should include those provisions in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that provide food safety alternative compliance measures for small and mid-sized producers and processors.   Food safety must be achieved without obstructing the growing interest and investments in producing for local and regional food systems.  Broad access to these growing markets is vital to rural economic recovery, public health and nutritional well-being.


Please submit your comments here:
http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/5735/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=4109

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