The SB920 Home-Processing Bill will be voted on Monday, January 31st at 9:00 in the Senate Agriculture Committee Room, on the 1st floor. They will have signs on the door will read: “Senate Agriculture Committee”.
First, please call all the senators on this list (info also included below). They are representing Agriculture in Virginia; and your opinion counts. Then, call your senator and ask him to support SB920 the home-processing bill.
This bill gives us the right have direct farmer-to-consumer trade of homemade pickles, canned vegetables and fruits with the pH of 4.6 or less without a state inspection.
Here are some talking points:
1. CONSUMERS DEMAND FOR LOCAL FOOD
There are increasing demands for locally prepared, small batch foods. Not only is their taste superb, but also the public has
suffered increasingly from numerous food poisoning outbreaks resulting from large scale commercially processed foods.
2. LOCAL PRODUCED FOOD IS SAFER
Congress responded this year to the problems of the food industry by passing S510, The Food Safety Bill, which mandates more regulation on large agribusiness food producers. However, Congress recognized that locally-produced food is safer and provided exemptions in the bill for small local direct producer to consumer sales. Also, recently several other states have passed laws containing such exemptive language.
3. PRIVATE HOME INSPECTIONS ARE OPPRESSIVE AND UNNECESSARY
Regulations madating inspections of private homes where the resident processes and prepares food for sale to an individual for his own consumption are oppressive and unnecessary. Such inspections inhibit small local enterprises. Vriginia inspectors should spend their time where it is needed–inspecting large agribusiness operations and food conglomerates.
4. SUPPORT FAMILIES AND BOLSTER LOCAL ECONOMY
Allowing the sale of some home-made products would provide a valuable source of supplemental income to families, It would also bolster the local economy. According to an economic alalysis report conducted by the Virginina Cooperative Extension, if every household in the state spent just $10 on local food per week, the Virginia economy would receive an additional $1.65 billion.
5. AGRIBUINESS USES SCARE TACTICS TO KILL LOCAL FOOD LEGISLATION
Agribusiness lobbyist raised the specter of botulism as a reason for not passing home processing legislation in the past, However, statistics simply do not support their argument. For instance, the risk of botulism in homemade pickles is proactically nil. Pickles, since they are acidic, have been safely made in the home for generations. Botulism was once a problem in some-canned vegetables, but with the advent of the pressure cooker, incidences plummeted.
6. 2008 EXEMPTION
In the 2008 legislative session, a bill was passed exempting candies, jams, jellies and certain baked goods from inspection if those items were sold at the home or at farmers’ markets and labeled “NOT FOR RESALE-PROCESSED AND PREPARED WITHOUT STATE INSPECTION.” There have been no public health problems resulting from this legislation. Yet, agribusiness fought against this bill all the way.
There is a great chance of getting this bill passed if consumers contact these senators:
These are the Senators on the Agriculture Committee.:
Senator Patricia Ticer-804-698-7530
Part of Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax County
Senator Mary Whipple- 804-698-7531
Falls Church, part of Arlington and Fairfax County
Senator Emmett Hanger-804-698-7524
Augusta, Greene, Highland, Lexington, Staunton, and Waynesboro, Part of Rockbridge,
Senator John Watkins-804-698-7510
Amelia, Powhatan, and part of Chesterfield, Cumberland, Goochland, Henrico and Richmond
Senator Roscoe Reynolds-804-698-7520
Carroll, Floyd, Galax, Henry, Martinsville, and Patrick, Part of Grayson and Wythe
Senator Phillip Puckett-804-698-7538
Bland, Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell and Tazewell Part of Pulaski, Smyth, Wise andy Wythe
Senator Frank Ruff-804-698-7515
Appomattox, Charlotte, Fluvanna, Halifax, Mecklenburg and Prince Edward, Part of Amherst, Brunswick,
Buckingham, Cumberland,and Lunenburg
Senator Harry Blevins-804-698-7514
Part of Chesapeake and Virginia Beach
Senator Mark Obenshain-804-6987526
Harrison, Page, Rappahannock, Shenandoah and Warren
Senator Donald McEachin-804-698-7509
Charles City, Part of Henrico and Richmond City
Senator Chap Petersen-804-698-7534
Fairfax City, Part of Fairfax County
Senator Mcdougle-804-698-7504= Bill Sponsor
Caroline, Essex, Hanover, King and Queen, King William and Middlesex, Part of Spotsylvania