Editorial: The High Cost Of Eating

Have you been to the grocery store lately? Yes, it is happening: food prices (along with fuel prices) are steadily rising. Last month, in an article in the Wall Street Journal, Michael Swanson, an agricultural economist at Wells Fargo & Co., said he predicts retail food prices in the U.S. will go up between 3.5% and 4% in 2011, compared to about 1.5% in 2010.

Why are we seeing an increase in food prices? Well, for starters, bad weather situations in other parts of the world such as Russia and Australia have created shortages, and don’t forget the recent freezing temperatures in Florida.

This rise in food prices comes at a time when we have an unemployment rate of almost 10%. What will be the end result? At the very least, consumers will be tightening their belts — even more.

Food Safety History

As consumers are tightening their belts, FDA will be working to get funds together for its new job. With the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act last month, the agency now has a very tall order to fill: improve the security and safety of the nation’s food supply. The legislation is historic because it marks the first overhaul in more than 70 years of the nation’s food system. This pending overhaul, however, comes with a high price tag.

Right now, the law is expected to require $1.4 billion in funding. According to a Homeland Security Newswire Report, the $1.4 billion is to sustain the law for its first five years, which would include the cost of hiring about 2,000 additional food inspectors. FDA now has to figure out how to get the money and get the ball rolling. The amount of funding Congress will appropriate is still up in the air and, of course, not all legislators are on board with spending money this way.

Many of you are not on board with the new food safety law, either. The week the bill was signed into law, our eNewsletter included the poll question: “Do you think the Food Safety Modernization Act will significantly increase the safety of fresh produce in the U.S?” A whopping 77% of the respondents said “No.”

Make no mistake, though: this legislation will change the way many of you do business. Understanding what it is all about will be critical for your operation. If you are a grower who falls under the exemption (sales less than $500,000 annually), you will want to pay attention as well, because, after all, food safety affects everyone.

So where do we go from here? One big question that has to be in the back of most everyone’s mind is cost. How much will implementing this legislation cost the industry? What will it cost you? How will these costs be factored in to already rising food prices? These are the questions that must be addressed as FDA moves forward.

In addition to cost, what else do you need to know about the law? Well, stay tuned. In the March issue of American Vegetable Grower and on GrowingProduce.com, information gathered from numerous industry experts will be presented on what this legislation will mean to you.

To end on a positive note, FDA commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said in a recent Homeland Security Newswire Report that the FDA’s goal is simple. The plan is to work with public and private partners “to build a new system of food safety oversight focused on applying the best available science and good common sense to prevent the problems that can make people sick.”
Let’s hope that’s the case.

Leave a Reply

Featured Stories
Cucumber---Bristol_web
Cucurbits
May 2, 2016
13 Of The Latest Cucumber Varieties
Check out this slideshow for more details on 13 cucumber varieties you need to know about from the nation’s leading seed breeders and Read More
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
Apples & Pears
May 1, 2016
USApple Debuts New Website
Industry group says new site is responsive to different formats, designed to be more consumer and industry friendly. Read More
Choosing the right fungicide can be critical as shown here by the stark contrast between a fungicide-treated garlic leaf (right) and an untreated leaf covered with a pathogenic rust fungus.
Photo credit: S. T. Koike
Crop Protection
April 30, 2016
How To Elect The Right Fungicide For The Job
It’s that time of year again, the time when the nation once more faces critical questions about the future ahead. Once Read More
Young Growers are pictured with Wally Heuser (center front row), the first IFTA president. (Photo credit: Christina Herrick)
GenNext Growers
April 30, 2016
Young Growers The Focus Of Industry Programming, Reception
The next generation in the tree fruit industry getting support of leading industry organizations. Read More
Jacket Rot Almonds featured image
Nuts
April 29, 2016
Look Out For Jacket Rot On Almond Leaves
Rains at bloom are causing higher than normal incidents of bacterial infections. Read More
An intern harvest salad greens at Churview Farm for a farm dinner FEATURE
Farm Marketing
April 29, 2016
Churchview Farm Aims To Close The Gap Between Farm And Table
This year, from June through September, Churchview Farm, located just outside of Pittsburgh, will host four farm dinners a month, Read More
Cosmis Crisp apples planting FEATURE
Farm Marketing
April 29, 2016
How Wholesale-Only Growers And Farm Marketers Differ In Their Crop Choices
We already know of some of the differences between farm marketers and wholesale-only farms. Farm marketers outnumber wholesale-only farms. Wholesale-only Read More
apple tree trellising washington state
Apples & Pears
April 28, 2016
Cracks In Your Orchard’s Infrastructure Expose Bigger Flaws
Modern blocks can increase your production, but if your training system is shoddy, you could see major losses. Read More
Brandt logo
Citrus
April 28, 2016
Brandt Acquires Majority Interest In Utah-Based Baicor
Baicor will operate as a subsidiary in Brandt’s specialty formulations division. Read More
The Latest
Cucurbits
May 2, 2016
13 Of The Latest Cucumber Varieties
Check out this slideshow for more details on 13 cucumber varieties you need to know about from the nation’s leading seed breeders and Read More
Apples & Pears
May 1, 2016
USApple Debuts New Website
Industry group says new site is responsive to different formats, designed to be more consumer and industry friendly. Read More
Crop Protection
April 30, 2016
How To Elect The Right Fungicide For The…
It’s that time of year again, the time when the nation once more faces critical questions about the future ahead. Once Read More
GenNext Growers
April 30, 2016
Young Growers The Focus Of Industry Prog…
The next generation in the tree fruit industry getting support of leading industry organizations. Read More
Nuts
April 29, 2016
Look Out For Jacket Rot On Almond Leaves
Rains at bloom are causing higher than normal incidents of bacterial infections. Read More
Farm Marketing
April 29, 2016
Churchview Farm Aims To Close The Gap Be…
This year, from June through September, Churchview Farm, located just outside of Pittsburgh, will host four farm dinners a month, Read More
Farm Marketing
April 29, 2016
How Wholesale-Only Growers And Farm Mark…
We already know of some of the differences between farm marketers and wholesale-only farms. Farm marketers outnumber wholesale-only farms. Wholesale-only Read More
Farm Marketing
April 29, 2016
Who’s Using Biocontrols, And Who I…
With so many consumers concerned about how food is grown, many farm marketers find themselves in the unexpected role of Read More
Apples & Pears
April 28, 2016
Cracks In Your Orchard’s Infrastructure …
Modern blocks can increase your production, but if your training system is shoddy, you could see major losses. Read More
Citrus
April 28, 2016
Brandt Acquires Majority Interest In Uta…
Baicor will operate as a subsidiary in Brandt’s specialty formulations division. Read More
Production
April 28, 2016
Farm Demonstration Visits To Focus On So…
California farmers will share practical experiences in “growing” healthy soil. Read More
Potatoes
April 28, 2016
Potato Breeding Update From Cornell Univ…
Variety research includes incorporating resistance to Potato Virus Y, a new race of golden nematode, and improving appearance. Read More
Farm Marketing
April 28, 2016
Small Producers Talk Profits
Four growers from across the country discuss the importance of knowing your customer, how to handle money, and being the face of your farm. Read More
Fruits
April 28, 2016
Knowing Role, Expectations Beneficial To…
Labor management is much more than just delegation. Read More
Fruits
April 28, 2016
USDA Establishes New Partnership To Link…
Minority, women, new and beginning, military, veteran, and urban producers to receive training and information on agency services. Read More
Apples & Pears
April 28, 2016
The Truth About Most Farmworkers [Opinio…
Just ask any grower who has placed a help wanted ad. Read More
Citrus
April 27, 2016
Meet Florida’s New Crop Of Agricultural …
Annual award program recognizes farmers practicing environmentally innovative techniques. Read More
Fruits
April 27, 2016
It’s Time To Rethink Grade Standards For…
Food waste is largely dictated by limiting produce standards. Read More
[gravityform id="62" title="false" description="false"]