A “Made in New Hampshire” Food Label?

NH Bill HB1650 has been introduced in the House of Representatives to protect local farms and food production.  The bill would exempt food grown or manufactured, and then sold within New Hampshire, from the federal food safety regulations. The “Made in New Hampshire” brand would be regulated by the state, and could be leveraged by small, local businesses to increase sales and promote locally grown products.
 
Rep. Josh Davenport, R-Newmarket, is the bill’s sponsor. According to Davenport, the regulations of the Food Safety Modernization Act, passed last January, would have a devastating impact on New Hampshire’s small farms and ruin the economic vitality of small businesses. “The state of New Hampshire is perfectly capable of ensuring the safety of its own small farms and food production businesses. Common sense takes care of problems much more efficiently and effectively than central planning in Washington.”
 
Davenport refers to the federal Food Safety Modernization Act as protection’s law, and says the federal law is  “blatant corporate welfare that could damage New Hampshire’s ability to produce its own food supply for generations.” He points to the regulations that require growers with more than $500,000 in revenue to register their food businesses or face 10 years in prison. The law also regulates seed cleaning, which may increase the prevalence of genetically modified seeds and allow powerful corporate farms to weed out their smaller competitors.
 
As stated in HB 1650, also known as the New Hampshire Food Freedom Act,  the law allows for locally produced food products to be sold and consumed within New Hampshire and to encourage the expansion and accessibility of farmers’ markets, roadside stands, farm and home based sales, and producer-to-end consumer agricultural sales by:
 
  • Promoting the purchase and consumption of fresh and local agricultural products
  • Enhancing the agricultural economy
  • Encouraging agri-tourism opportunities in New Hampshire
  • Giving New Hampshire citizens unimpeded access to healthy food from known sources
  • Encouraging good manufacturing practices, including sanitation and hygiene, in the production, handling, storage and transportation of foodstuffs

Farms or food manufacturers would label the packaging or display of their food products with a “Made in New Hampshire” label, letting buyers know that the product falls only under New Hampshire regulations.

Local regulators would not be allowed to enact stricter regulations than the state, ensuring that in-state food businesses are lean, productive and safe. The bill also provides penalties for both federal officials or their agents attempting to enforce federal regulations and for producers and processors who label their food as “Made in New Hampshire” when it does not meet “Made in New Hampshire” requirements.

What do you think? Would a “Made in New Hampshire” label assure you that the food is safe? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.

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