Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement Threatens Small Farms
Comments Due by July 28, 2011
A proposal under consideration in Washington would place more power in the hands of industrial agriculture and threaten the viability of small, diversified farms. New England Farmers Union urges our region's farmers, consumers and advocates to submit comments in opposition to this proposal.
The proposed National Leafy Green Marketing Agreement (NLGMA) aims at standardizing food quality and safety requirements for farmers, handlers and retailers of fresh greens. While billed as voluntary, the proposed agreement would place a great deal of power in the hands of sellers, processors and distributors of greens, essentially forcing farmers to comply with standards that they will have little role in crafting.
Despite all of the problems the proposed agreement poses, the core of the issue is the effect it would have on American consumers' confidence in the safety of our food supply. AllAmericans have the right to safe food, and claiming that certain foods sold in the U.S. are "safer" than others only for the purpose of gaining a competitive advantage in the marketplace is disingenuous and unethical. If this agreement is allowed to move forward, it will, in effect, give the largest produce handlers (meaning processors, shippers and packers of leafy green vegetables) the power to establish on-farm practices for all growers of leafy greens, regardless of a farm's size. The phrase "largest produce handlers" is not hyperbole: The 150 signatories on leafy green marketing agreements in California and Arizona comprise nearly 90 percent of all leafy green production in the United States.
To comment, click here: http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=AMS-FV-09-0029-0150.
Posted: Thu, Jul 21, 2011
Updated Fri, Jul 22, 2011