NSAC's Blog

“Big Ag” at it Again

June 1, 2011

Last year we won a hard fought battle, securing appropriate food safety rules in the Food Safety Modernization Act for small-to-midsized farms and processors producing fresh and healthy food for local and regional markets.

Now, out of left field, a marketing agency – the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) — has issued a proposed national food safety rule for spinach, lettuce, and cabbage, despite the fact that AMS does not have food safety jurisdiction or staff.

And the protections for the small and medium sized farms that make up our nations vibrant local food system? …. Not there.

The most powerful “Big Ag” players in the leafy green industry are pushing the National Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (NLGMA).   The sellers, processors, and distributors that sign on to the rule will compel farmers they purchase from to comply with its standards. The rule adds a second and conflicting layer of food safety standards and audits on top of FDA food safety rules.


This confusing and duplicative rule could effectively shut small and mid-sized farmers
out of the leafy greens market.

Click here to tell the AMS to withdraw their unnecessary and confusing rule.

Categories: Action Alerts, Food Safety, General Interest

5 responses to ““Big Ag” at it Again”

  1. Jan Dietrick says:

    For so many reasons of economy, fuel efficiency, nutritional quality, jobs creation, AND food safety, our national security depends on development of more local food production/distribution and away from huge centralized production/distribution. It is unwise that so few entities control the food supply for so many people. The scale of contamination risk with these new anomalous strains of E. coli is much greater and harder to track and mitigate in a centralized food distribution system than in a local system. Centralized systems leave a much wider door open to bio-terrorists AND to the inevitable damage to production and quality from genetically modified seed. If the powerful forces in the NLGMA force their interventions on production specs with the obvious unfair consequences to small and medium sized farmers, what is the AMS going to do to help superior more localized sustainable and potentially more safe systems of production/distribution develop?

  2. starwomanspirit says:

    Big Ag is doing disaster capitalism…they are buying off our government and it’s one horrible onslaught after another as they use our own government against us. Big Ag wants the American people to have no choice over what we eat because they know if we have a choice we won’t want any of their unhealthy pesticide gmo franken foods.

    This is shameful and disgusting…the people have spoken and yet BIG AG continues it’s onslaught over and over and over again.

    I REFUSE to buy any more processed foods from the grocery store and I will continue to vote with my dollars for local sustainable healthy food!!

  3. Ron Capozzi says:

    Do not create duplicate layers of government. The FDA handles food safety for consumers. The Ag department is food growing. Do not overlap. We do not need redundant governmental bodies.

  4. Vicki Nosal says:

    I oppose the creation of a National Leafy Green Marketing Agreement, which I believe to be the wrong approach to address food safety concern
    The Agricultural Marketing Service is not a food safety agency. It is bad public policy to create food safety regulations in order to address the “marketing” goal of increasing consumer confidence in the safety of leafy greens. Food safety policies should be driven by science, not by marketing problems.  The NLGMA, as proposed, would give the large conventional produce industry the ability to use its own world view to dictate farming practices. Small scale and organic farmers would have a very small voice in the standard-setting process.  The NLGMA is modeled on state food safety agreements in California and Arizona. In those examples, the conventional produce industry has pushed through food safety regulations that are biased against organic and small-scale farmers, have led to the destruction of wildlife habitat and discouraged good conservation practices on farms.
    Diversified farming operations with complex rotations have been shown to be beneficial to the environment. Yet crop-by-crop food safety regulations, such as the NLGMA, are an economic disaster for diversified farming operations, and are biased toward large mono-cultural operations. For a farmer with 40 crops on 100 acres to comply with 40 different food safety regulations is prohibitively burdensome. Crop specific food safety regulations, such as NLGMA, will drive farmers out of environmentally sensitive diversified crop production, and toward chemical-intensive mono-cultural operations. This is counter to the goals of food safety and more environmentally sound agriculture.  The Food and Drug Administration is currently writing regulations to establish food safety standards for produce. Why is AMS proposing to establish standards that conflict with or duplicate the FDA standards, with the conventional leafy greens handlers in the drivers’ seat?  The NLGMA is a disaster waiting to happen, for farmers, consumers, the environment, and ultimately for food safety. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~