Onion growers in Eastern Oregon are welcoming this week’s news that the Food and Drug Administration will revise food safety regulations proposed last January. The agency says it will make “significant changes” after receiving input from concerned farmers.
The rules were designed to reduce the number of cases of foodborne illness caused by tainted fruits and vegetables.
FDA wanted to set standards for bacterial presence in irrigation water. But many farmers, including onion growers, found the rules were grounded more in theory than in agricultural practice.
After hearing from growers in his district, Oregon Representative Greg Walden met with FDA officials and convinced them to visit some farms in Oregon this past summer.
“This is really how government should work. When you’re able to make a case, the agency should respond and respond in a positive way. And it appears, at least for now, that that’s what happened,” says Walden.
The FDA expects to have its revised proposal ready by this summer.
Walden says he hopes the new rules will not only ensure the safety of our food, but also a farmer’s ability to grow it.