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The SF Gate is reporting that many small organic farms are upset over looming crack downs on organic standards. The recent talk of crack downs has come about because of major gaps in federal oversight of the organic food industry that recently came to light.

According to the piece, small farms are afraid that the new stricter watch dog protocol may put them out of business, with Rep. Sam Farr, D-Carmel, noting, "How do we trust that the FDA is going to know about things that the San Francisco Bay Area has been very progressive on - the field to fork, fresh, grow local, buy local - all of that?... The organic people are feeling that the regulations the FDA may promulgate will be so safety oriented, it'll put them out of business."

I'm actually amazed that there's even a fuss. Everyone who cares about real organics and food safety has been saying for years that we need better regulations, and frankly, I have to agree with said Sandra Eskin, director of the Pew Health Group's food safety campaign, who notes, "Our principle is that food should be safe, whatever the source," and Tom Nassif, head of Western Growers, who says small growers shouldn't be exempt noting, "If the small guy who sells to a farmers' market gets a family sick, it's a blip on the radar screen," Nassif said. "There's not a big hue and cry, because it didn't affect hundreds of people. What about those people? Doesn't their food safety count?"

I buy from small local farms and I buy from bigger growers too - if my son eats fake organics or unsafe food I honestly could care less who sold it - the problem is they did and my son ate it.

Ferd Hoefner, policy director for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition called the House bill a one-size-fits-all approach that would be a "complete disaster" for small farms and in that respect I agree, but only to the point where issues like farm size, mild amounts of natural contamination because of growing methods (i.e. it happens, wash your food) and crop diversity come into play. Basically in my opinion if you're a farm, no matter the size, you should grow safe healthy food so you won't have to be concerned. I like small local farms but we can't have better regulations and not apply them to everyone. That's not really better across the board regulations at all.

PLUS you have to consider that if and when there's a problem with a small organic grower - i.e. one farm sells produce that is unsafe and harms someone, all of the organic farm community will have to hear about it. Regulations are also in place to protect the overall outlook of organics. 

All that said, I'm not a fan of the FDA - it's really too bad we don't have a better watch dog group for this particular situation. 

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