Although the Food Safety Modernization Act, passed last December, excluded many small farmers and food producers from some of the regulations, many are still worried that new rules will cause them more harm than good.
Very small businesses who sell less than $500,000 in the same state and are within 275 miles of the food production are exempt from some of the new requirements. Programs like hazard analysis, food allergen control, a recall plan, and pathogen monitoring, do not have to be implemented by businesses who meet that criteria. However, exact details of exemptions for these business are still being determined by the FDA and that could mean added costs.
For example, small farms that are considered to be processing facilities would be required to follow new regulations. Processing facilities could mean farms that bundle produce to ship, or farms that press apples to make cider. All farms, no matter the size, will be affected by new produce production regulations. The FDA expects to publish a proposed rule for produce production by the end of 2011.
For these small businesses, complying with FDA requirements can add to their cost of doing business, and distance restrictions could mean fewer sales opportunities.
What do you think? Will regulations mean small farms won’t be able to compete?