Food safety is a significant concern for both agricultural producers and consumers and is one of the highest priorities for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). In making decisions regarding regulations for food safety, they must keep in mind a balance between risk preventative measures, and over-regulation that hinders entrepreneurial opportunities.
Food safety transportation concerns must be dealt with at the national level to ensure smooth interstate commerce.
As food safety regulations increase, it is vital for Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) and MDARD to continually review and monitor any changes to the current pesticide labels. It is imperative for farmers to have this up-to-date information when following the pesticide spray recommendations in the MSUE spray guides.
- Proper biosecurity, identification, and safety protocols being followed by all state and federal agency personnel when visiting farms; including compliance with all executive orders and regulatory requirements relative to the ag industry.
- Continued use of food safety audits such as Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and food safety risk assessments to ensure food and consumer safety.
- A private, third-party audit be accepted by USDA as long as it includes the same minimum standards as a government audit.
- Standardizing a single third-party audit that would be broadly accepted by retailers.
- Permanent institutional licensing, including churches and civic facilities.
- Current dairy laws as they pertain to the pasteurization of milk, including prohibiting the sale of unpasteurized fluid milk for human consumption.
- Michigan Farm Bureau and MDARD working to provide guidelines for cow-share and herd-shares that meet Grade A dairy standards.
- Use of wooden pallets and wooden harvest bins.
- Custom exempt slaughter.
- The ability for families to process and consume their own products on their own farm.
- Continued monitoring of the Cottage Food Law.
- Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, in consultation with MDARD, reviewing the rules for application of biosolids in close proximity to growing fruit and vegetable crops with the intent of preventing potential human health hazards.
- The concept of On-Farm Readiness Review kits along with the Food Safety Modernization Act Grower Training programs that help ease the burden of farms becoming compliant.
- Prohibiting reuse of food containers or packaging labeled with “use by” or “purchase by” dates, for the benefit of consumer health and producer liability protection.
- A committee comprised of MFB members research and report back on block chain technology use in agriculture and the potential impact on Michigan agriculture.
- MDARD should immediately report food fraud and cybersecurity impacts.
- Any unfunded mandates including but not limited to USDA GAP audits.
- Abuse and overreach of the Cottage Food Law provisions.
- Any agency or department quarantining or seizing raw or finished products, commodities, cattle, land, or equipment without clear violation of law or lawfully set standards.