Local Farmers Say FDA's New Rules Are Costly - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Local Farmers Say FDA's New Rules Are Costly

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WAPATO, Wash.--NBC Right Now is working to keep you informed about new regulations from the Food and Drug Administration.

The agency said the rules proposed under the Food Modernization Safety Act will reduce Salmonella and E. Coli outbreaks. However, local farmers said this doesn't come without a price.

"Farmers always feel like they're being dumped on more and more, so they do get anxious and they do get frustrated," said Luz Bazan Gutierrez, the President and CEO of Rural Community Development Resources.

Some farmers said the FDA rules weigh heavy on the wallet.

"It requires them to have new infrastructure, like for their pesticides storage, to build new hand-washing facilities," said John Verbrugge, the Orchards Manager for Valley Fruit.

Some other proposed rules include keeping animals out of fields, making sure fertilizer is sufficiently treated and much more. The funds that will go into this, plus the money that goes into the auditing process could be too much for smaller farmers.

"For someone who farms maybe 40 acres, that's too big of a number for them to take," said Verbrugge.

"Many of our small farmers actually sell their product to warehouses," said Gutierrez. "Well the warehouses, if they're not following some safety regulation, they're not going to be able to accept their product."

Some farmers say they've always worked hard to protect their food and with these new regulations, they expect retailers to step up as well.

"People dump the fruit out on the shelf for people to paw through who may be sick," said Verbrugge.

People have over 100 days to comment before the rules are implemented.

Tree fruit farmers NBC Right Now spoke with said during this period, they want the FDA to acknowledge that fruit growers use different methods than vegetable growers and should not be lumped together under the same regulations.

 

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