Letters to the Editor

Feds threaten farmers markets in Island County

I go to the farmers market each week. People line up for fresh strawberries and other organic produce grown locally by small farmers. The artisan cheeses are also popular alongside the yummy baked goods. Lots of families come to eat outside and meet friends and neighbors.

But there is a bill before Congress right now that threatens our thriving farmers markets. Bill HR 2749 gives unprecedented powers to the Food and Drug Administration with far less accountability. First they’d require $500 from any facility that processes food (like those making cheese or baked goods). They’d gain the power to quarantine any area and halt the movement of any food in that area even if they are not the source of contamination. That could close down our farmers markets. They’d gain the authority for random warrantless searches of any food producer’s business records, including where they got their supplies, how they raised their food and a list of their customers. That’s you and me. Penalties of up to 10 years in jail and $100,000 fines could be imposed for each violation for individuals who didn’t comply.

Eating local, seasonal foods benefits our health, is more affordable, supports farming families in our communities and reduces our carbon footprint. If Bill HR 2749 passes our small farmers, cheese makers and bread bakers may be put out of business. In these challenging economic times our small businesses need all the help they can get. Please, contact your representative and ask them to vote no on HR 2749. Call the Capital Switchboard 202-214-3121 or sign a petition at www.ftcldf.org/petitions_new.htm.

Maribeth Crandell

Oak Harbor

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