In my previous post, I skimmed the surface of the massive regulations which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed to reduce human exposure to pathogenic organisms originating from fresh fruits and vegetables. The draft Produce Safety and Preventive Controls (for handling facilities) regulations are the first steps towards implementing the Food Modernization Safety Act (FSMA) of 2010.
The Produce Rule in the new Food Modernization Safety Act applies to fruits and vegetables that are normally consumed raw.
After years of stalemate between public health, consumer, agricultural and food service interests on Capitol Hill, Congress approved the FSMA’s sweeping expansion of federal oversight in 2010. This post and the two to follow will provide basic background for answering key questions leading into a discussion of the merits of our increasingly centralized and standardized food production and handling systems.
This post delves deeper into how one false impression in particular is fueling the sense of loss behind organic’s mid-life crisis. Specifically, we’ll examine how the exclusion of synthetic materials, which some within the organic community would elevate to a cardinal principle, actually threatens to drive farmers out of certification, if not out of business entirely.
For better and for worse, the popular understanding of organic agriculture in America is inseparable from the environmental and human health risks associated with pesticides.
Part 11: I couldn’t resist this title for the concluding chapter in our history of organic agriculture. This lyric from the rambunctious odyssey of the Grateful Dead also conveys the myriad twists and turns that have carried organic agriculture from the countercultural fringe to the White House garden and shelves of Walmart.
Part 10: Beyond the intricacies of the production standards themselves, the story of organic poultry certification also includes one of the more fascinating sagas in the relationship between the organic community, the agribusiness establishment and the federal government.
Part 9: This installment in our history of organic agriculture will explore the challenges and contradictions of setting livestock standards using the scandalous abuse of the requirements for pasture to illustrate the very real limitations of organic certification.
Part 8: We must travel back to the 1980s to appreciate why and how the anti-synthetic and anti-agribusiness provisions were written into the USDA organic certification standards.