In recent food policy and food safety news:

1. Will Americans be getting paid for backyard farming? Today, President Obama announced the Food Security and Sustainability Stimulus (FSASS), which will encourage Americans to engage with their food by providing tax credits for backyard farming. The FSASS would also establish a farm-worker safety program by combining the efforts of the USDA and Homeland Security.

2. The source of the pistachio salmonella contamination may have been found: raw nuts infected with the bacteria may have mingled with roasted pistachios at a processing plant. However, it’s unclear where the contaminated nuts ended up: “We know that the [pistachio] farm in California shipped its products to 36 wholesalers…But what we don’t know yet is what those wholesalers did with them — whether they were repackaged for consumers, or whether they were sold to manufacturers making ice cream or cookies or candies.” This outbreak could affect many food products in the end. [via NPR]

3. A look at the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (HR875) reveals that yes, food safety improvements are planned (namely, the creation of a separate Food Safety Agency within the FDA and a stricter regulation and inspection protocol for food processing plants) but no, backyard gardening will not be outlawed. If you don’t feel like reading the 117 page HR875, read this summary about the bill and other related bills, such as the Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act (HR759), which aims to completely restructure the FDA.

Read more:

“New Food Security and Sustainability Stimulus (FSASS) Announced” [Civil Eats]
“Stop the Hysteria! A Closer Look at HR875” [Civil Eats]
“Background on HR875” [Food & Water Watch]

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