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Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Calls for “Proper Food Safety Legislation”

July 8, 2009

In a statement today, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union (RMFU) President Kent Peppler, a Mead, Colo., farmer, urged the federal government stop “looking where the light is better” and create a workable food safety program.

“While family farmers and ranchers are fighting to protect their livelihood from a national animal identification program (NAIS) that effectively exempts agribusiness, the nation is faced with the recall of nearly half a million pounds of meat produced in one day, at one plant, all possibly contaminated with e. Coli. It reminds me of the story of the guy who loses his wallet on the east side of the street, and decides to look for it on the west side because the light is better.”

The beef recall affects meat processed in late April 2009. “That contaminated meat has been circulating in our food supply for more than two months,” Peppler said. “While the USDA is puzzling over ways to find out where cows come from, slaughterhouses are operating with oversight so poor that it takes two months to find the cause of an e. Coli outbreak. If the USDA wants to protect our food safety, they should start where the problem is, instead of using the small producer as a scapegoat for under-regulated corporate agriculture. About a decade ago, the federal government made slaughterhouses self-regulating. When the USDA mandated scientific methods of inspection, they agreed to allow slaughterhouses to do the ‘inspections’ themselves. The honor system doesn’t seem to be keeping our food safe. It’s time to take away that privilege until they earn it.”