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Food for Thought - Food Safety vs Michigan Farmers

Farm fresh vegetables at Witherbees Market in Flint, Michigan
(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)
Farm fresh vegetables at Witherbees Market in Flint, Michigan

President Obama is expected today to sign legislation to improve the nation’s food safety.  The new law will put more regulations on Michigan farmers. 

2010 ended with national recalls of parsley, alfalfa sprouts and cilantro because of possible salmonella contamination.  The recalls were just the latest problems that prompted Congress to revamp the nation’s food safety system. The changes include better tracking of all kinds of food, from the farmer’s field to the consumer’s plate.  

Ryan Findley is with the Michigan Farm Bureau.   He says the new law is a good idea, but he’s worried federal bureaucrats might over-regulate Michigan farms. 

“Is that what we need to do and is that really improving the food safety? May be they’re doing everything already. They’re doing it correctly. And there’s an easier way than loading up with a bunch of paperwork.”

Findley says small farmers who sell directly at Michigan farmers’ markets or Michigan restaurants will be largely exempt from the new food safety rules.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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