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Comment period nears for food safety rules
AUSTIN -- More than 270 organizations, food businesses, and farms requested an extension March 6 of the comment period for two major proposed food safety rules. The groups seek more time to assess the effects of the 1,200 pages of rules on family farms and small food businesses, according to a Farm and Ranch Freedom press release.
The new regulations are an effort to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act passed by Congress and signed into law by the president in 2011. Unless extended, the public comment period closes Thursday, May 16.
“Hundreds of thousands of family farmers and family-scale food producers will be subject to extensive new regulations,” said Judith McGeary, executive director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “took two years to develop the proposed rules, and our members need more than 120 days in order to understand all of the implications and submit substantive comments.”
In a letter sent to the FDA, the letter notes that many farmers, including those of Amish faith, do not have easy access through the Internet to FDA documents or information on the proposals.
The proposed rules set standards for on-farm activities in growing and harvesting produce, as well as establishing new Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventative Controls for food manufacturers, including on-farm processing of foods.
In the letter, the organizations point out that farms in different parts of the country face different challenges due to topography, geology, and climate.
For more information, contact McGeary at 512-484-8821 or Judith@farmandranchfreedom.org.
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