Food News: FDA releases the final Food Safety Modernization Act rule, and Corning’s new meat locker opens

Here are some recent news stories you might have missed:

National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition: FDA Releases Final FSMA Food Facilities Rule
Earlier this month, the FDA introduced the final rule under the Food Safety Modernization Act, which creates new preventative control standards for food production facilities. The rule kicks in officially on Nov. 17, after which facilities must begin compliance. The rule has major implications for farms and food businesses, particularly direct-to-consumer operations like farmers’ markets, roadside stands and CSAs. It also clarifies the definition of a farm and redefines some farming operations, including “harvesting” and “packing”. The final produce rule is expected to be released in Oct. 2015. Read more on the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition blog.

NPR: A Carnivore’s Solution To Space Constraints: The Meat Locker
NPR’s food blog “The Salt” picked up a local WSKG story on the new Corning meat locker. Similar to the Ithaca meat locker, which was opened by Cornell Cooperative Extension-Tompkins in 2014, the facility will allow families to buy large quantities of meat, directly from farmers, and store it in a communal freezer for a small monthly fee. Customers who use the meat locker can save as much as $200 a year by buying in bulk rather than from the grocery store. The project is a throwback to the 1950s, when meat lockers were common. Click over to NPR for more.

Hot Potato Press: Community Dinner conversation highlights challenges
Hundreds of people attended the Food Justice Fair on Sept. 20 in Ithaca. Hosted by GreenStar Community Projects, the goal of the fair was to start a dialogue on how to create a more equitable food system. The fair included a keynote address from Natasha Bowens, author of The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience and Farming, as well as a free community dinner and a “fish bowl” conversation with people who have experienced food insecurity. Visit Hot Potato Press to learn more.

PBS Newshour: EPA rules will strengthen pesticide safety on farms
On Sept. 28, the Environmental Protection Agency announced new rules created to protect farmworkers from pesticide exposure. Under the updated standards, workers will be required to attend trainings on the dangers of pesticide use each year instead of every five years, which is the current requirement. Farms will have to create buffer zones to reduce drift and fumes, and people under 18 will be barred from handling pesticides altogether; however, the rules will not apply to farm owners and their family members. The EPA says that up to 3,000 cases of pesticide exposure are reported each year, though many cases go unreported. Learn more at PBS Newshour.

Food Research and Action Center: New Poverty and Income Data Underscore Ongoing Struggle for Many Americans
The Census Bureau released its annual report on income, poverty, and health insurance on Sept. 16, and the data underscores the vital importance of federal nutrition programs for low-income families. The U.S. median income and poverty rates both remain unchanged from last year. One in five children live in poverty, and many more children hover just over the poverty line. Household food insecurity decreased slightly to 14 percent from 14.3 percent in 2013, but it is still higher than the 11.1 pre-recession rate. However, according to the report, between 3.6 and 4.7 million people were lifted out of poverty last year if Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are included as part of their income. Read FRAC’s statement on the Census report on their website.