Food safety is something that has been a priority over the last few years as the number of people being sick from tainted food has risen. There is now a new bill being introduced into the House which would supposedly help regulate our food supply and decrease illness.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Senate has passed S-510, colloquially referred to as the Food Safety Bill. This piece of legislation will give the FDA greater control over recalls, food shipment monitoring and standards for food quality manufacturing. Grocery stores, large food producers, other industry groups and consumer groups have all supported this new Food Safety Bill. A lot of small farmers claim this would do more harm and could put them out of business. The legislation has a primary goal to help reduce the number of food-borne illnesses that occur each year due to tainted food.
I do not think that this legislation will be good for the American consumer and it will end up hurting our local food industry. For people who live in rural areas, the small fruit stand at the corner is convenient and a way to help the local economy at the same time.
With this new Food Safety Bill, small farmers who I go to every week for fruits and vegetables will likely be put out of business. These small rural stands are great boosts to the local economy and provide you with the fresh options that you do not see in the grocery store. What this legislation does is limit the number of other avenues we have to get our fresh food, which means more business for the big chain stores and government. I think this legislation will probably put almost all of the small farmers you see in your neighborhood out of business because they cannot afford the tighter regulations on their products. Most of these small businesses go from a home to the consumer, which is why the prices are so affordable. With the new regulations, there will not be a street vendor for you to get fresh vegetables or fruits and you will then have to pay more for them at your grocery store.
It will also hurt the American consumer because the prices at the grocery store will increase to pay for the tighter regulations. The prices of fruits and vegetables will increase because of the fact more regulation is put on them, which hurts the quantity and quality at the store. These new regulations basically are just another way that the government is trying to take over our daily lives by limiting our choices on where and how we can get food.
For me personally, I buy a lot of fruits and vegetables from local vendors because I know it helps the local economy and they are also fresher than in-store varieties. With this new legislation, however, I will probably be forced to buy the lower-quality fruits and vegetables from the store because the small street vendor will not be able to survive with the new regulations. I will also buy fewer of the fruits and vegetables in the grocery store because I am thinking prices will go up, which will decrease the amounts I am willing to buy.
Overall, this legislation does nothing to promote safety when it comes to food-borne illnesses because it is the bigger chain vendors who are responsible for the outbreaks in the first place. Instead of hurting the small business owner, the legislation should be focused on quality control measures at these big factories and plants. I am not very happy at all about this legislation because it should be my choice where I buy my food, and I am the one responsible for my own safety; it is not the role of the government. This will hurt every single small farmer who sells his fruits and vegetables in a local market, which will hurt the economy and drive up prices on sub-par grocery products.
Bill Tomson, “Food-Safety Bill Clears Senate Hurdle”, Wall Street Journal