At the beginning of 2011, the Obama administration signed into law the Food Safety and Modernization Act. If you’re unaware, the goal of the legislation was to “modernize” the food industry and place new regulations on every aspect of the production chain.
However, apparently the Obama administration is sitting on some of the proposed rules (perhaps waiting for after the election?). According to the Huffington Post, the rules being delayed are those relating to fresh fruits and vegetables.
The new regulations in this area are fairly expansive and will no doubt be expensive to implement, especially for smaller farms. In 2009, the FDA released guidance documents for tomatoes, leafy greens, and melons. These guidance documents are supposed to reflect the upcoming changes in food regulation. Even a cursory glance at the documents will tell you they’re going to be costly and almost impossible (keep all wild animals out of your fields — how??). These guidance documents are not very practical, clear, or helpful.
Trying to force these regulations on farmers, especially in the middle of a lagging economy and crippling drought would be disastrous.
Perhaps it isn’t a bad thing that the Obama administration is dragging its heels. Hopefully, they’ll never get the chance to implement them.