Tester-Hagan Amendment Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011
In response to national outbreaks of foodborne illnesses within the past decade, Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in 2011 to authorize the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to establish food safety requirements for producers, handlers, and others in the food supply chain. Small to medium-scale farms should pay special attention to the Produce Safety Rule and Preventive Controls Rule since they contain several regulations that may or may not apply to their farm operations. The Tester-Hagan amendment was passed a year before FSMA was signed into law to add modified exemptions for direct-to-consumer marketers. The final Produce Safety Rule and Preventive Controls Rule, both passed in 2015, outline certain circumstances under which farms or retail food establishments (including CSAs, farmers markets, and roadside stands) qualify for meeting these modified exemptions.
Beginning farmers and farmers of color, who often have reduced access to capital and a smaller labor force (Ackerman & Bustos 2012), will likely experience further hardship under increased food safety regulations. For farmers of color in particular, troublesome encounters with capital lenders (Cocciarelli et al. 2014) and regulatory constraints can dampen economic gains and potentially deter efforts to improve community food access through local food sources. While FSMA regulations will likely add some difficulties for farmers who wish to scale-up their operations in the future, the Tester-Hagan amendment to FSMA assisted in reducing some of the regulatory constraints on these farmers. It should be noted that these exemptions do not apply to other federal and state regulations, such as Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) or state food laws, and that farmers may need to consider getting insurance to cover a range of food safety liability risks (Hannum & Fisher 2016).
Priority 24 – Decrease regulatory burdens on farmers while considering their diversity of production practices
Ackerman, L. & Bustos, D. (2012, March 8). Disadvantaged Farmers: Addressing Inequalities in Federal Programs for Farmers of Color. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. Retrieved from LINK.
Cocciarelli, S., Tyler, S., Kim, E., & Obudzinski, J. (2014). STRENGTHENING RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN LENDERS AND FARMERS OF COLOR: ROUNDTABLE PROCEEDINGS APRIL 23, 2014. Retrieved from LINK.
Hannum, E. & Fisher, L. (2016, February 2). Farm Law Tutorials: Food Safety Liability and Regulations [Webinar]. Retrieved from LINK.