Unfortunately, not everyone gets excited. I have been interviewed by other bloggers on the issue and when they post the story I like to read the comments. There is usually at least one person that says its a bad idea because someone might get sick. Let me point out four reasons why this is a minor argument.
1. Most small farms and individual producers are only selling small lots of food (think 10-20 chicken pot pies) at a time. If some of those were tainted in some way, only a few people would become ill. Granted, I don't want anyone to become ill but it could happen.But consider the large food corporations that would sell thousands of chicken pot pies. They could potentially make thousands of people ill. It would be much easier to track down 20 pies than 20,000.
2. Most small producers consume the very products they produce. Due to the fact that producers like myself consume the products we sell we are very careful with what we produce. I take care with the chicken we produce because we are going to feed it to our family. And on top of that, we have developed relationships with many of the people to whom we sell. That kind of relationship makes me more careful than large produces would be. While they worry about hurting their brand name, I am worried about making my friends and family sick.
3. Small producers are safer because we are not producing 7 days a week. Unlike the big producers, small family farms are usually only producing products with their produce a few times a week and in many cases once a week. Due to the fact that we are not producing constantly the bacteria load is much lower and the care taken much higher. Because of this the food you purchase is much safer.
4. There is already proof that deregulation of small producers works and is safe. I was speaking with fellow pasture based farmer this week and he mentioned the fact that small poultry producers are already deregulated and non-inspected. Our farm is one such farm. We are an on the farm poultry processor. We are safe, clean, and have not had one complaint of illness. This testifies to the cleanliness and safety conscientiousness of small producers. The same level of cleanliness and quality could be brought to other areas of the food market by passing the Food Freedom Act.
Ultimately the responsibility lies with the producer. If they are not clean then you the consumer will let them know quickly. Either you will bring them medical bills or quit buying from them. They will either have to straighten up or go out of business.
Freedom is never a bad idea and the arguments against the Food Freedom Act are weak at best. Consumers are smart enough to make the right choice when given the opportunity. And when you and I are given the choice between my neighbor down the road and a faceless corporation, I have the feeling I'll chose my neighbor.
Which do you believe would be safer to buy from, your neighbor or the agriculture industrial complex? I would love to hear your answers in the comments below.