By Hannah Packman, Digital Media Director, National Farmers Union.

As the U.S. Food and Drug Administration develops its “Blueprint for a New Era of Smarter Food Safety,” the agency is considering comments from stakeholders on how best to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and create a ” a more digital, traceable, and safer system to help protect consumers from contaminated food.” 

Earlier this week, National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson submitted  comments emphasizing the continued need for regulations and approaches to an evolving food safety system that are size and risk appropriate. In particular, the organization is concerned that smaller-scale farmers and processors may face financial and educational barriers to adoption of some new traceability technologies.

In order to address those concerns, Johnson called for “the development and authorization of a grant program on research, outreach, education, and training geared toward small-scale farmers and processors to ensure the development of scale appropriate technologies.” In his comments, he also asked FDA to conduct cost-benefit analyses to minimize harm to smaller farmers and processors while maximizing consumer health and safety.

Johnson applauded FDA for including a focus on the importance of culture and behavior to achieving successful food safety outcomes, and also thanked the agency for its investment in outreach and education efforts around food safety through the  Local Food Safety Collaborate (LFSC) and other organizations engaged in this important work.

Read the full comments  here.