I heard the fears of the small, local, sustainable, locavore regarding the Food Safety Modernization Act, which is why exclusions for on-farm sales and sales at farmer’s markets, and direct sales to grocery stores and restaurants were added, along with additional protections with the Tester/Hagen Amendment. However, it appears that what some in the movement really wanted is no oversight at all.
There has been a rash of bills this year in several states that severely limit the right of state and local health departments from food safety inspections. Now comes the “Land of Lincoln:”
HB 1483 – Amends the Food Handling Regulation Enforcement Act. Provides that, notwithstanding any other provision of law, neither the Department of Public Health nor the health department of a unit of local government may regulate the serving or sale of food at a charitable fundraising event or at a farmers market.
SB 0137 – Amends the Food Handling Regulation Enforcement Act. Sets forth definitions for “cottage food operation” and “non-potentially hazardous food”. Provides that notwithstanding any other provision of law, neither the Department of Public Health nor the Department of Agriculture nor the health department of a unit of local government may regulate the service of food by a cottage food operation providing that certain conditions are met. Amends the Sanitary Food Preparation Act to make a corresponding change.
I certainly understand the desire to not have any rules. I am still mad that I cannot smoke a cigar and drink a beer on the top of the ferry on summer evenings on the way home. But, seriously, no food safety regulation? What does the local movement have to hide?
Having some level of local oversight protects consumers and protects the local food movement. Local oversight protects consumers from a few in the local movement that might take food safety shortcuts, and it protects the local food movement from me. Local oversight helps assure that the food is small, local, sustainable, locavore and safe. Safe food makes for no illnesses, and no illnesses means no lawsuits.