No, I am not kidding, and I am not commenting on the quality of FDA regulations...
The hard-working folks at the Food and Drug Administration have announced a new initiative to "....conduct a risk assessment to determine how much consumer health is put at risk by the use of raw manure as fertilizer in growing crops covered by the final Produce Safety rule, and what can be done to help prevent people from getting sick."
Now if you're saying to yourself, "I have not heard of any stories of people getting sick because they ate foods fertilized with manure, in fact, haven't farmers been using manure for centuries," you might have too much sense to be a federal bureaucrat.
Anyone who has followed the passage and implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act will not be surprised to learn that these regulations will negatively impact small farmers.
Bayen Linnekin at Reason has more details:
As I've detailed for years, the FDA's proposed FSMA rules would have forced small farmers "to adopt onerous, expensive, and unnecessary farming practices and procedures" that included "tough new regulations for using organic fertilizer," including compost and manure.
Pushback from small farmers and their supporters around the country forced the FDA to reconsider the worst of the proposed FSMA rules. Reconsider the agency did. And now they're back, beating the same drum.
Of course, the fact something like fertilizing crops with manure has been done a particular way for tens or hundreds or thousands of years doesn't make it safe.
Indeed, there's no doubt that pathogens sometimes found in manure make their way onto and into fruits and vegetables and sicken and kill Americans every year.
But there's also little doubt that the FDA's expertise in this area is (charitably) virtually nonexistent. Besides regulating uncracked eggs, as the agency does (poorly), the FDA has little or no experience regulating farming.
The FSMA produce rules, though, paved the way for FDA to inspect American farms.
Read the entire Reason article here.