Food Safety Act Q&A Today

Will your garden be illegal? Will your food be safe? Will your favorite farmer's market face a fed takeover? Join for a live conversation as our experts answer your questions about the Food Safety and Modernization Act.

November 30, 2010

This event is closed. Thanks to everyone who participated. See transcript below.


Food Safety and Modernization Act of 2010
Live Chat on Twitter
Friday, December 3, 4-5 pm EST
with editors and guest experts


RodaleNews: Welcome to the Twitter Q&A on the food safety bill. #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: There's been a lot of controversy and confusion surrounding the bill. #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: Joining us to answer your questions are food safety experts and sustainable farming advocates. #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: Welcome Erik Olson (@ErikOlson_Pew) from Pew, Mark Kastel (@Cornucopia_Inst) from Cornucopia Institute. #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: Farmer/activist Judith McGeary (@NAIStruth) of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance is also on hand to answer questions. #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: We're going to open things up for questions right away... #foodsafetybill

organicnymilk1: I have a question #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: While we're waiting for everyone to join in, FRFA is a nonprofit devoted to helping small farms. #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @organicnymilk1 Ask away! #foodsafetybill

Debkrol: @RodaleNews @NAIStruth what is farm & ranch freedom alliance? how do they keep our food supply safe? or what?? I want to know that.

RodaleNews: For background, see our Food Safety Myth story #foodsafetybill

organicnymilk1: We're rotationally grazing organic hens in large numbers here in Upstate NY #foodsafetybill

organicnymilk1: We are wondering what type of soil management we should consider when we change out flocks #foodsafetybill

Cornucopia_Inst I would encourage you to contact your local cooperative extension grazing agent #foodsafetybill

organicnymilk1: specifically, what type of adjustments in ph or selenium should we be considering? #foodsafetybill

BeginningFarmer: Any updates on how the Senate plans to deal with the House opposition to funding language in Managers Amendment? #foodsafetybill

Cornucopia_Inst @beginnignfarmer if the house passes a bill and sends it back to the senate they will presumably pass it once again #foodsafetybill

NAISTruth: The House may pass its own version of the bill to send over to the Senate, it's not clear yet #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @organicnymilk1 This chat is regarding the food safety bill. We refer you to the Rodale Institute for farming practices. #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: There's been talk that the food safety bill will outlaw gardening. That is not true. #foodsafetybill

organicnymilk1: ok...sorry to bother you #foodsafetybill

BeginningFarmer: @NAISTruth Do you have a sense of whether that bill might look more like HR 2749 or S 510? #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @organicnymilk1 No problem! But the Rodale Institute folks are the soil experts and can help you! #foodsafetybill

sosarahsays: @NAISTruth If the House passes its own version, any ideas on a timeline? #foodsafetybill

NAISTruth: Probably more like S510, or else they'll have trouble getting the Senate to pass it, but nothing is certain! #foodsafetybill

foodsafetynews: Hey! Food Safety News joining in here, we cover #foodsafety & policy. Thx @rodalenews for hosting #foodsafetybill

NAISTruth: Timeline - also uncertain, but presumably next week, or they run out of time in the lame duck session #foodsafetybill

EHerbertHenney: Why is it so important that the bill pass right now? #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @Cornucopia_Inst How will this bill affect small-scale, organic farmers? #foodsafetybill

BeginningFarmer: Is Dingell likely to be the sponsor, or someone else? I'm in Michigan, should we be putting pressure on him? #foodsafetybill

ktab: How will the food safety bill affect the average consumer? What do they need to know? #foodsafetybill

BeginningFarmer: @EHerbertHenney Right now we have a bill with protections for small farmers. In the new congress all bets are off. #foodsafetybill

foodsafetynews: @EHerbertHenney - If #S510 does not pass during lame duck, Congress would start over in 2011. #foodsafety #foodsafetybill

foodsafetynews: @BeginningFarmer - Dingell has been a key force behind the house version. He's worked on #foodsafety for years. #foodsafetybill

NAISTruth: The bill provides some protections for small-scale farmers & thus the consumers that buy from them #foodsafetybill

BeginningFarmer: @foodsafetynews Who else is a likely sponsor in the House? #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @ktab This bill, if passed, would allow the FDA to force recalls, but it doesn't deal with factory farm issues. #foodsafetybill

foodsafetynews: RT @BeginningFarmer: Right now we have a bill with protections for small farmers. In the new congress all bets are off. #foodsafetybill

NAISTruth: But there are still concerns. Keeping Tester-Hagan amendment in is critical. And staying on top of FDA during rulemaking. #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @ktab Also, it requires big food producers to submit to more safety inspections, so big egg/PB/spinach recalls may reduce #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @Planithealthier Sustainable farming groups like this version of the bill because it protects small-scale farmers. #foodsafetybill

FlaMassageMama: Is there an organized effort to get media coverage of the neg. effects of the bill in addition to grass roots campaigning? #foodsafetybill

foodsafetynews: @BeginningFarmer - Sponsors for HR2749 (House version of #foodsafety): Dingell, DeGette, Pallone, Stupak, Sutton, Waxman... #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @foodsafetynews Do you think small farmer protections will stay in place? #foodsafetybill

BeginningFarmer: @foodsafetynews Seems like these are folks we should be targeting to make sure a new House bill includes Sm Fmr protections #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @ErikOlson_Pew Do you think the bill goes far enough in protecting consumers? #foodsafetybill

ErikOlson_Pew: the underlying bill includes many small farmer [email protected] #foodsafetybill

BeginningFarmer: @ktab not for meat anyway #foodsafetybill

foodsafetynews: RT @ErikOlson_Pew: the underlying bill includes many small farmer protections #foodsafety #S510 #foodsafetybill

ErikOlson_Pew: @RodaleNews. The bill includes many key consumer protections; it's imperfect but a major step forward. #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @ErikOlson_Pew Do you think this bill has teeth? #foodsafetybill

anderslc: have the new food safety inspections been defined? and who is in charge of defining the standards? #foodsafetybill

BeginningFarmer: @ErikOlson_Pew the Senate version does. The House version has none, in my reading of it #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: Apologies on behalf of @cornucopia_inst, they are on but having tech issues. Tweet to them anyway! #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @ErikOlson_Pew What will be the biggest impacts? Where did the bill fall short? #foodsafetybill

ErikOlson_Pew: @RodaleNews It has far more teeth than current law, which hasn't been meaningfully updated since 1938. #foodsafetybill

nashmallow: @RodaleNews Are there any big (& terrible) surprises buried in the food safety bill? #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: Following #foodsafetybill interesting discussion about the implications and what exactly the bill covers.

NAISTruth: nash, there very well may be surprises when we get into the FDA rulemaking process #foodsafetybill

BeginningFarmer: @ErikOlson_Pew I respectfully disagree. The Delaney Clause was a major update #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @ErikOlson can you answer @anderslc question? #foodsafetybill

Rick_LC: After the final version is passed, how soon will things go into effect? #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @NAISTruth How can consumers make sure organic farmer protections stay in place? #foodsafetybill

NAISTruth: Call your Congressman (go to or Capitol Switchboard 202-224-3121) #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @NAISTruth Should people just urge them to keep the Tester-Hagan amendment points in place during rulemaking? #foodsafetybill

BeginningFarmer: @Rick_LC The Senate gives 180 days for rulemaking I believe. #foodsafetybill

foodtechconnect: @RodaleNews @Cornucopia_Inst does the #foodsafetybill encourage the leverage of information technology in any interesting ways?

foodsafetynews: RT @ErikOlson_Pew: @RodaleNews It has far more teeth than current law, which hasn't been meaningfully updated since 1938. #foodsafetybill

NAISTruth: Yes, on keeping Tester-Hagan, & also urge them to be involved during approps and rulemaking processes #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: Co-hosts...what happens if this bill does not pass before year's end? #foodsafetybill

EHerbertHenney: @BeginningFarmer but has that really stopped foodborne illness outbreaks? Clearly there's still an issue in need of amending #foodsafetybill

foodsafetynews: Agree with @NAISTruth, much of the work & details will be in approps & rulemaking #foodsafety #S510 #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @EHerbertHenney Food & Water Watch just released a good map...the source of food problems in the U.S. #foodsafetybill

ErikOlson_Pew: @RodaleNews. If bill doesn't pass this year, Congress would have to start over next year, New bills, Senate/House passage #foodsafetybill

BeginningFarmer: @NAISTruth There are 5 other important provisions in the Senate version besides Tester: see #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @ErikOlson_Pew Any feeling in DC if this is likely going to pass this year? #foodsafetybill

ErikOlson_Pew: @RodaleNews We are cautiously optimistic that the legislation can still be enacted this year. #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @ErikOlson_Pew Any chance factory farm issues will be addressed in the near future? #foodsafetybill

NAISTruth: BeginningFarmer, I think the other provisions are good but not clear or as important as Tester #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @ErikOlson_Pew We are cautiously optimistic that the legislation can still be enacted this year. #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @ErikOlson_Pew @foodsafetynews if bill doesn't pass, do you think there will be the same support for small farms? #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @NAISTruth if bill doesn't pass, do you think there will be the same support for small farms in new Congress? #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @NAISTruth if bill doesn't pass, do you think there will be the same support for small farms in new Congress? #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @SlowFoodUSA Is your group pleased with the food safety bill? #foodsafetybill

NAISTruth: Maybe. people on both sides of the aisle support small farms, but Agribusiness influences both also #foodsafetybill

ErikOlson_Pew: @RodaleNews. Includes key provisions that would help small farmers, like the Stabenow amendment funding grants/training. #foodsafetybill

ErikOlson_Pew: @RodaleNews Like any bill, it's imperfect, but overall will clearly improve health protection and protect small farmers. #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: 10 minutes left in our live food safety bill Q&A! Do you have questions? Tweet them w/#foodsafetybill hashtag!

BeginningFarmer: @NAISTruth I agree, Tester-Hagan is critical. #foodsafetybill

ErikOlson_Pew: @zenblaster Agree--a lot of incorrect claims out there; bill exempts home gardens and most farmers markets etc, #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @ErikOlson_Pew Like any bill, it's imperfect, but overall will clearly improve health protection and protect small farmers. #foodsafetybill

Rick_LC: does anyone have a suggestion for cooking a pumpkin I just bought? #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @Rick_LC Rodale Healthy Recipe Finder #foodsafetybill

BeginningFarmer: Good chat all, thanks for hosting! #foodsafetybill

ErikOlson_Pew: check our for more info! #foodsafetybill

BeginningFarmer: @RodaleNews Will you guys be hosting more of these? How can we keep updated? #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: From @Cornucopia We're in dangerous waters if bill doesn't pass by end of year. Congress could rush in new year. #foodsafetybill

foodsafetynews: @rodalenews - Think small farm support is serious. Unclear if political will to pck up the bill will be there nxt Congress #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: Follow @RodaleNews and for more health & environmental info & conversations! #foodsafetybill

ErikOlson_Pew: @RodaleNews . Agree. Congress needs to wrap this up now! to act go to MakeOurFoodSafe,org #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: Cornucopia Inst. In 2010, little time to watch out for the small organic and direct marketing farmers Collateral damage #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: So the consensus is, to protect consumers and sustainable farmers, push Congress to pass the bill before year's end? #foodsafetybill

ErikOlson_Pew: @RodaleNews Absolutely! #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: Thank you all so much for participating! Follow @RodaleNews for more updates on the food safety bill saga! #foodsafetybill

NAISTruth: I don't agree with that consensus. I'm staying focused on, IF a bill passes, making sure we don't lose Tester-Hagan. #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @NAISTruth Good point. Thank you for all of your helpful insights! #foodsafetybill

RodaleNews: @ErikOlson_Pew Thank you, Erik, for your expertise input! #foodsafetybill

After months and months of wrangling, debate, and delays, the U.S. Senate passed the Food Safety and Modernization Act this week. Will it make our food safer or imperil our small and independent growers and gardeners? is gathering a panel of experts to discuss and demystify this important legislation. Join our Twitter party this Friday and you can ask question, share your thoughts, and join the conversation.

What is a Twitter Party? It's a live, a real-time, online conversation between participants who share a specific interest. You can join in and share your thoughts with everyone in the party, instantly. Co-host experts will stimulate conversation and provide information and answers to your concerns and questions.

How to participate: It's easy! All you need is a free Twitter account.

Here's how to join the party:

1. At the start of the party (or anytime during), go to

2. Click on "party" in the top menu of the TweetGrid home page.

3. Enter #foodsafetybill in the "party hashtag" field, and the Twitter handles of the party co-hosts (see below) in the "party host(s)" field, and your own user name/handle in "Your username."

4. Click "Join the Party!" and you're in! (If your user name isn't displayed, use the login link just below the tweet field.)

Make sure that the #foodsafetybill tag is displayed in the "hashtag" field next to the tweet field. This will automatically add the tag to your tweets, so your messages will be visible to everyone in the party.

Party co-hosts:

RodaleNews @RodaleNews
Cornucopia Institute @Cornucopia_Inst
Pew Charitable Trusts @ErikOlson_Pew
Judith McGeary, activitst, lawyer, farmer and exec director of the The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance @NAIStruth

Start following us on Twitter now, so you won't forget to join the party! We're @RodaleNews

Tags: Rodale News