Congress passed the Food Safety Enhancement Act today. This bill creates big administrative and cost burdens and new problems for small farmers and in particular organic farmers. Everyone is in favor of food safety, who isn't. But the real culprit is the big agribusiness factory farms (which create the environment for E coli to flourish), not the small organic producers, yet this bill imposes onerous requirements on small family organic farmers which won't lead to any increase in food safety, just more costs, and more bureaucracy.
The spinach E coli problem of a few years ago was caused by runoff from neighboring factory farms. Instead of tightening up control over these operations, or better yet banning them or forcing meaningful change on how they operate, instead the burden falls on the organic and vegetable farms to keep barriers between their farms and their neighboring factory farms, and for some reason, creating barriers to prevent any wildlife from reaching the growing fields. Farms have to clear natural land, poison frogs and kill deer and squirrels. The cause is the factory farms, the government solution, kill deer, squirrels, and other wildlife and destroy their habitat!
One representative expressed his concerns during debate as follows, "I believe we should target reform and safety efforts towards practices which have been directly linked to food disease outbreaks, rather than limiting approaches that farmers have used for centuries to reduce their dependence on pesticides, herbicides and other carbon intensive farming techniques.
See my previous blog post for more about the food safety issue: