Thursday, March 01, 2007

California Senate hearings related to food safety. If you thought the discussion between John Mackey and Michael Pollan was interesting, you may be interested enough to follow the details of what's happening in your food chain even further. There is a great deal of public interested in food safety and/or the recent E. coli outbreak in packaged spinach. If you are one of those who are following this topic, you'll want to catch this California Senate Committee Informational hearing on E. coli on February 27th, and the follow up on the 28th of further proceedings, or at least parts of it.

Some particularly interesting parts:

Judy Redmond Community Alliance of Family Farms, President & Co-Owner, Fully Belly Farm gave very articulate and compelling testimony. (watch from 2:35:19 ) She made the point well that organic farmers are prohibited from using manure in the fields, and conventional farmers are not under that obligation. USDA certified organic farmers use compost, and it is tested for pathogens before it is used. She said the proposed marketing agreement raises the level of conventional farming methods in this regard to the level of existing organic standards.

The first hearing had a cross-section of interests and is well-worth the time to watch if you are interested in the future of our fresh food supply. The second hearing is more dominated by the state science and agriculture department experts.

During the second hearing, regarding the Marketing Order approach to improving the safety of fresh leafy greens, John Dyer, California Department of Food and Agriculture stated "Roughly 80% of America's product [leafy greens] goes through California and we're looking at 90% of the volume of that..." which would be covered. So, what is happening in California's exploration of putting forth more regulations for food safety will affect the entire U.S. and beyond. (watch from 37:40)

Although not as entertaining as John Mackey and Michael Pollan, it's very important to how our fresh produce will be treated in the future.

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