Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - November 14, 2019 


New evidence arises from the first impeachment hearing; one in four federal student loan borrowers defaults early on; and growing proof that vaping isn't the healthy alternative it was thought to be.

2020Talks - November 14, 2019 


It's World Diabetes Day, and health care, including the high cost of insulin and other drugs, is a top issue for many voters. Plus, do early states like Iowa and New Hampshire have an outsized role in the nomination process?

Daily Newscasts

Sustainable Ag Advocate Weighs in on New Food Safety Rules

For the first time, produce farmers soon will have to comply with new federal food safety rules, and a sustainable ag advocate is mostly praising the move. Credit: KyleJones/morguefile.com
For the first time, produce farmers soon will have to comply with new federal food safety rules, and a sustainable ag advocate is mostly praising the move. Credit: KyleJones/morguefile.com
November 18, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. - It took five years of debate, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration finally has approved new food safety rules. Late last week, the FDA set the official standards for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the first major reform in more than 70 years.

Sophia Kruszewski, policy specialist with the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, says overall, the Act does right by food producers who choose not to use chemical fertilizers.

"We're pretty supportive of the significant change in their approach to the use of manure, compost that we think will make it a lot easier for farmers using sustainable and organic practices to continue to do that on their farm," says Kruszewski.

The FDA says it is still researching any possible health effects from the use of raw manure. For now, however, the FSMA won't prohibit farmers from using it.

Kruszewski praises that move, but claims other parts of the new rules – such as those concerning the water used to grow food – could pose problems down the line. She explains the FDA is using a clean-water standard that is not tailored to agriculture.

"Its assessment is based on the hazards posed by ingesting water while swimming or while boating," says Kruszewski, "which significantly from the hazards posed by consuming produce that's had water used in its growing."

She acknowledges that there are provisions in the FSMA to work around the water rule, but it could make the transition difficult, especially for farms that grow produce. For them, she notes, this will be first time they have to come into compliance with federal rules "for growing, harvesting, packing, and holding produce."

There's still a big question there, she adds.

"Requirements coming from the marketplace and requirements coming from the federal government," she says. "How are they going to be streamlined, so that farmers aren't having to deal with two sets of requirements?"

Kruszewski is hopeful that question will be answered after the food-safety rules are published in the Federal Register on Nov. 27. The rules will go into effect 60 days after that. Most U.S. farms will have two years to comply.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - ND