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MICH-ORGANIC Home

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MICH-ORGANIC  December 2008

MICH-ORGANIC December 2008

Subject:

Re: HB6657 Removing Egg Amendment

From:

Craig Harris <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Craig Harris <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 5 Dec 2008 08:58:28 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (164 lines)

toward the bottom of his message, steve bemis writes that
"Salmonella, the pathogen of concern with eggs, is far and away a concern 
with industrial-sized operations " . . .
i'm wondering what evidence there is that salmonella is much more of a 
concern in large poulty operations than in small poultry operations . . .
cheers,
craig 

craig k harris
department of sociology
michigan agricultural experiment station
national food safety and toxicology center
institute for food and agricultural standards
food safety policy center
michigan state university
http://www.msu.edu/~harrisc/ 

 


 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- 
 ----
From: Michigan organic growers seeking and offering information and ideas 
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Dutcher Farms
Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2008 8:02 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Fw: HB6657 Removing Egg Amendment
Importance: High 


Please take a moment to read this , the bill was temporarily stalled 
yesterday on the House floor due to the language in the bill. It is my 
understanding that even Rep. Meisner who introduced the honey and maple 
syrup bill was not aware that eggs had been rewritten into the bill. PLEASE 
take the time to contact your representative this morning and ask they 
remove the egg portion of this bill.You can find your Representatives phone 
number on this site.     www.house.michigan.gov/replist.asp
Sorry for such short notice and any duplications, this is extremely 
important to young and beginning farmers and famers markets statewide!!!!
                           Sincerely,
                                John & Cindy Dutcher
 ----- Original Message -----
From: Steve Bemis
To: [log in to unmask]
Cc: Katherine Fedder ; Dutcher Farms ; Dru Montri ; Elaine Brown ; 
[log in to unmask] ; [log in to unmask]
Sent: Wednesday, December 03, 2008 9:59 PM
Subject: HB6657 Removing Egg Amendment 


Hi Pam - As you may know, I have taken active interest in recent years in 
issues affecting small farmers, including defending Richard Hebron the 
farmer who was busted a couple of years ago making deliveries into Ann 
Arbor.  I was a leader in implementing the PDR millage in Webster Township 
to help preserve farmland, and I'm a founding Board member of the 
Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (www.farmtoconsumer.org).  In all such 
cases, I have advocated for small farmers pro bono. 


I'm writing because we need help to unscramble (pun intended) HB6657 
(originally introduced by Andy Meisner) and remove the amendment therein 
which would include shell eggs.  The effect of this amendment is to 
radically restrict, from 3000 hens down to perhaps 200 hens, the size of an 
egg operation exempt under Michigan law.  By "clarifying" a situation which 
does not need clarifying, a major restriction on the viability of a small 
farmer's income from eggs would be implemented.  Michigan's small farm 
economy does not need such additional burdens. 

 

Briefly, the following excerpt from the Egg Law of 1963 provides 


EGGS (EXCERPT)
Act 244 of 1963 


289.333 Sale by producer to consumer or first receiver. 


Sec. 13. 

All producers shall comply with this act except those selling eggs of their 
own production direct to consumers or when delivering or selling to a first 
receiver. 


History: 1963, Act 244, Eff. Sept. 6, 1963 

 

 


MDA has been taking the position, that the Egg Law of 1963 has been 
superseded somehow by the Food Code (derived from the Federal model act) and 
thereby imposes Food Code licensing and sanitation provisions on farmers 
selling eggs of their own production direct to consumers at farmers' 
markets.  I do not read the Food Code as doing what MDA says, since the only 
reference to eggs in the Food Code, is a provision therein putting a cap of 
3000 hens on such production. 


In other words, read together properly, the Food Code simply puts a 3000 hen 
cap on the above-cited section 13, which otherwise would exempt unlimited 
direct-to-consumer sales (a farmer selling to a "first receiver" is also 
exempt, but a first receiver is nevertheless subject to the licensing, 
washing, grading, cartoning, etc. provisions of the egg law since a first 
receiver can in turn sell to a retail outlet and hence the additional 
regulatory oversight is appropriate). 


Since MDA claims the Food Code does something that it does not in fact do, 
their logic is to offer in HB6657 language to include shell eggs in a new 
amendment to the Food Code which would exempt up to $15,000 in gross sales 
of eggs.  HB6657 was originally designed to cover small farms producing 
honey, maple syrup, etc.  At $3.00 per dozen, the proposed amendment would 
thus exempt about 5000 dozen eggs a year, which is about 96 dozen per week, 
which is 1154 eggs per week, 165 eggs per day, or a flock of perhaps 125 
hens (at $2.00 per dozen, about 200 hens) at typical production rates. 


When I initially spoke with Kathy Fedder about this last week, I was not 
aware that such a clarification was not necessary, nor did I appreciate its 
impact on small farmers.  I have since clarified my views on this directly 
to Kathy raising the concerns that I express here (and continue to do so, by 
copying her on this email).  I fear, however, the wheels are now turning on 
the floor to enact the egg amendment to HB6657, and this will be a step 
backward for small farmers who otherwise are struggling to serve the 
burgeoning direct-food public demand under typical farming pressures, 
exacerbated by rocketing feed and fuel costs for most of the past year. 


We don't need this amendment to include eggs (I don't opine on HB6657 
without the egg provision - it seems OK, but I'm not familiar with the 
much-more seasonal honey and maple syrup); we do need MDA to "clarify" 
existing law as it is written, namely to exempt direct farm to consumer egg 
sales from flocks of up to 3000 hens as provided under the Egg Law of 1963 
as modified by the 3000 limit in the Food Code. 


Finally, food safety should not be a concern here.  Salmonella, the pathogen 
of concern with eggs, is far and away a concern with industrial-sized 
operations (100,000+ hens in gigantic facilities) where the crowding, forced 
molting and other pressures on the birds are much more likely to produce 
disease.  Any outbreak from a small producer, rare in any case, would have 
natural limitations by the small number of people affected from any one 
producer, with a product that is typically cooked in any case.  Again, to 
the extent there is a weighing of risk, that calculus has already been 
weighed in the presently-existing law limiting to 3000 birds and we don't 
need further restrictions and confusion in this area. 


Thanks for reading this.  I would appreciate your looking into this, and 
speaking on our behalf.
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