BALDWINSVILLE, NY (WSYR-TV) - The Federal Food and Drug Administration is proposing sweeping new food safety rules after an outbreak of foodborne illnesses, but some farmers in Central New York said they already follow strict guidelines in order to sell to the major grocery stores.
Emmi & Sons farm in Baldwinsville has to follow and document a strict safety plan in order to sell to stores like Walmart and Wegmans. For example, every time employees enter the packaging area or head out to the fields, they have to wash their hands.
“If they come in and they see somebody leave their work station and come back in here and not wash their hands, that's an automatic failure,” said Tony Emmi.
The FDA’s proposed rules would require all farms selling food in the U.S. to create similar plans to prevent and deal with contamination of their products and be open to federal audits.
“For the first time, rather than reacting to problems once they happen, FDA is going to be able to prevent problems before people get sick and before food needs to be recalled,” said Sandra Eskin with the Pew Health Group.
According to the FDA, 130,000 people are hospitalized with a foodborne illness each year.
There is a 120-day public comment period before the FDA finalizes the new tules.
Large farms would then have 26 months to comply with many of the new requirements, while smaller farms would have longer.