Time is running out to comment on the 2010 Food Safety Modernization Act’s Produce Safety and Preventive Control rules and advocates for farmers markets and sustainable agriculture are urging the public to weigh in on what they say are regulations that could make it more difficult and more expensive for small farmers to do business.
“The rules are based on assumptions of farming that are not necessarily accurate,” Jen O’Brien of the Farmers Market Coalition said during a webcast held to explain grower issues and generate public comments before the Nov. 15 deadline.
O’Brien said some definitions in the rules are unclear and parts conflict with mandates of the FSMA, which covers standards of production and food safety issues.
A big issue is how the FDA determines what constitutes a farm and what makes up a facility, definitions that govern which regulations that must be followed. Farm advocates also are concerned whether the regulations are scaled to appropriate risk for small farmers and larger growers and facilities. (read more…)
September is Hunger Action Month and for the past several years, people around the country including lawmakers have taken up the SNAP Challenge, named after the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program that’s better known as food stamps.
Typical food stamp recipients get an average of about $31.50 per person per week for food. While some argue that the word “supplemental” means the program is designed to flesh out meager food budgets and not replace them entirely, it’s clear that too often families are struggling to feed themselves on that bare bones budget. One in six Americans, including about 17 million children, don’t have enough to eat, according to the USDA and the non-profit Feeding America.
High profile people from Newark Mayor Corey Booker to Panera Bread CEO Ron Shaich to San Francisco chef Lincoln Carson have accepted the challenge to try living on $4.50 per day for a week, to gain insights into the struggles faced by so many Americans whose food budgets don’t stretch any further. (read more…)
It’s no secret that, while many of us believe we would be happier without taxes and regulations, we recognize the need for at least some of them to keep our communities running and our patrons from getting sick.
Still, some restaurateurs worry that too much of a necessary evil may be just plain, well, evil. Portland, Ore., restaurant owner Ken Gordon spelled out his concerns in a recent Oregonian guest column that began with a question — Why does the city seem bent on derailing its thriving food scene?
Gordon understands the intent behind new rules requiring paid sick days for servers, but points out that restaurants will bear the brunt of the cost at a time when the city is also preparing to raise eateries’ water bills 37% and double fees for sidewalk cafes, he writes.
“Incentives to companies like Nike — enabling them to stay in the area and thrive — are all well and good, the rationale being that a large employer contributes much to the local economy. (read more…)
When the federal government froze minimum wage for tipped workers at $2.13 per hour in 1996, the wage amounted to half the federal minimum wage for non-tipped workers. Tips were supposed to make up the difference and, if they didn’t, the law required companies to do so. Since then, that $2.13 per hour has fallen to 29% of the minimum wage.
A bill proposed this session would unfreeze the tipped minimum, a move called for by President Barack Obama. Supporters say the change is necessary to give restaurant workers a wage they can count on and may actually save restaurants money in the long run because it will reduce turnover and keep highly productive workers on staff. Detractors say the measure will push down job creation, put workers out of a job and drive up meal prices for consumers.
The provision is part of a larger bill to raise the overall minimum wage to $10.10 in two years and provide for annual increases thereafter. (read more…)