• What Impact Will "Enhancing Tracebacks and Recordkeeping" Have on Farmers' Markets?
  • March 31, 2010
  • Law Firm: Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP - Columbus Office
  • “There are certain things only a government can do. And one of those things is ensuring that the foods we eat are safe and do not cause us harm.” 

    That's a quote from President Obama that appears on the FDA's food safety website and is undoubtedly an indication of increasing federal regulation of food in the years to come.  It's expected that by May of this year a bill to modernize the FDA will become law.  Both the House and Senate versions of the bill require the establishment of a tracing system for contaminated food back to its source within two days.  While tagging foods so that they can be traced back to their source may be onerous for industrial-scale producers, for farmers' markets, truck farmers, and the whole locally grown / sustainability movement this requirement may prove to be crippling.

    The final bill will likely incorporate some sort of requirement for studies or pilot projects to determine the most effective and least expensive method of traceback and recordkeeping.  Any obligations eventually imposed won't become effective for eighteen months to three years.  Expect to see considerable debate about these provisions in the next couple months.