Oregon bill to exempt farmers’ markets ignores food safety

There’s always weird stuff going on with state legislators. Anyone who watches Big Love on HBO would know that polygamist and newly elected state representative Bill is just making a mess of things in the TV version of Utah.

In Oregon, Rep. Matt Wingard, R-Wilsonville, introduced House Bill 2336 to balance promotion of farmers’ markets with protection for food safety.

?“I believe we have adequately addressed the issues and you have a bill before you that allows farmers’ markets to continue to grow and thrive. … The principal ingredients must be grown and processed by their producer, it must list ingredients and the name and address of the producer, the producer is limited to $20,000 in annual sales, and it must carry a label that it is homemade and is not prepared in an inspected food establishment.”?

Faith-based food safety is in no one’s interest.

Canadian farmers say they are misunderstood; market the fab food safety instead

This should make everyone feel all warm and fuzzy about Canadian farmers: according to a new poll (which is nonsensical anyway) Canadian producers think governments overreact to food safety incidences and overburden them with rules to prevent the spread of diseases on their farms.

Sarah Schmidt of Postmedia News reports that a summary of the focus groups led by Ekos Research Associates Inc. on behalf of Agriculture Canada said,

"Those who were being most affected by these measures felt that governments and retail industry giants had overreacted in the face of mad cow and other food safety incidences, as well as bowing to pressure from the United States and other countries."

This from the country – that would be Canada — that initially resisted the ruminant protein in ruminant feed ban in 1996, had lousy enforcement of said ban, leading to 15 or so cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy over the past decade, and was so delusional about the potential for listeria in cold cuts that it created an outbreak climate culminating in 22 deaths in 2008.

Further, "consumers do not have sufficient basic information about agricultural products. And if they did, they would be more likely to buy Canadian and to buy products grown locally.”

I get that other countries can cut corners and flood the market, and labeling is confusing, but stop whining. Tell retailers about your fabulous food safety programs and standards. Market your Canadian product and back it up with food safety data, not some nostalgic allegiance to maple syrup and beavertails.

Genetically engineered and conventional sweet corn — Sept. 2000

Back in 2000, Farmer Jeff Wilson and I thought we’d try and figure out if the consuming public wanted genetically engineered crops or not. As Jeff would say, if people aren’t going to buy it, why would I grow it?

I recently discovered some of that old video. This was way before youtube, but the idea was, for those who couldn’t visit the farm, we would bring the farm to them. The original press release can be found at http://www.foodsafety.ksu.edu/en/news-details.php?a=3&c=29&sc=220&id=46895.

We’ll be releasing a bunch of Farmer Jeff videos on youtube over the next couple of months, to provide some insights into the food production trade-offs that farmers face every day.