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Letters to the Editor - Aug. 24

August 24, 2013

New food law would hurt local farmers

To the editor:

Each week at our farm stands, we try to explain a peculiar situation to our customers. They come to buy our fresh fruit and vegetables, and I tell them that in a few years this produce will be illegal to sell. Why? Because it has some dirt and bacteria on it.

The strawberries, for instance, have some trace amount of straw and soil on them. As do the tomatoes, beans and cucumbers. We do rinse them before leaving the farm, but we won’t put them through a disinfectant bath or pack them in antiseptic plastic containers.

Regulations for a new food law — the Food Safety Modernization Act, or FSMA — administered by the FDA are in the process of being finalized. Although the original act had protections for family farmers, we believe those will be ignored or phased out over time.

The data of recent food safety scares leads us to believe the farther food travels from the farm to the consumer, the more opportunities it has to become a food safety problem. The current cyclospora food poisoning problem in bagged salads is a good example. This is one reason why 20 million consumers visit farmers markets and want fresh produce — preferably grown without pesticides, herbicides or GMO (genetically modified organism) seeds. Sadly, protecting consumers from these synthetic perils is not addressed by FSMA.

Nor does FDA address what is common sense to many scientists, doctors and parents: Our bodies are dependent on good germs and bacteria. If anything, rather than developing the antiseptic, globalized, industrial-style food system FSMA seeks, we should be searching for ways to increase the amount of good bacteria in our bodies. 

Such regulations will put many farmers who are committed to fresh, healthy and sustainably grown food, out of business. It is those antiseptic, theoretically bacteria-free, plastic containers that will soon become the only way we will be able to shop for all of our produce.

Michael Tabor, Needmore, Pa.
Nick Maravell, Buckeystown, Md.


The win-win of tackling climate change

To the editor:

By now, many have heard about the scientific findings regarding the root cause of climate change, that is, increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere caused by burning fossil fuels and land-use changes. Today’s levels are the highest recorded in 3 million to 5 million years, since before humans evolved. This is a position maintained by 97 percent of scientists.

Yet, there are many who dispute the cause of climate change in spite of the findings. My comments are not meant to change their minds but rather to put forth two possible outcomes of working to mitigate the impacts of climate change and to show that either outcome would have win-win results.

If the believers of climate change are able to convince their elected officials to pursue policies and standards that work to reverse carbon dioxide levels (and the passage of time shows this to have been the right course that reduced the frequency of severe weather conditions and billion-dollar impacts that are already occurring), then believers will have helped to counter the devastating impacts of climate change. However, if believers are wrong and climate change is a myth as some have said, but the elected officials still pursue the same policies, what then? We will leave our children, grandchildren and future generations a world with cleaner air and water, fewer droughts and famines, and a wiser use of the world’s limited resources.

Regardless, if global warming is a myth or is real, the path favored by believers would have favorable results. When I think about those who will come after I’m gone, I favor the path of the believers. For the most part, it appears to be a win-win path.

Frank Bielicki
Keedysville


Politicians seem to have forgotten that we have standards

To the editor:

In the political arena today, we have a tendency to base decisions on emotions instead of the rule of law. Seemingly, our politicians are sacrificing the law at the expense of supposed popularity. They are forgetting that the law is a set of standards to be upheld to ensure success.

Many are parading the stories of children or spouses who are residing here illegally and are now being readied to be deported who want to remain with their parents or spouses who are legal citizens. The crying during the interviews plays on the human heart and the politicians say, “this is inhumane and these families deserve to remain intact!” Then, when a person stands up and states the fact that there are standards to be met before legal entry, that person is labeled as a hater of people of another national origin. No, it is a person who isn’t afraid to tell the truth.

We have standards that are set by the rule of law. It takes people who are not afraid to stand up and tell the truth, regardless of how they may be perceived. When a politician sells his soul for popularity and the truth to the highest bidder, that my friends is a dangerous man.

Here is an example. The judges on “American Idol” will tell the performer, “that was not good enough to make it on the show.” The person sulks back to their family, and the family says “that’s not right. They have a beautiful voice, and they’re a nice person and Mr. Cowell is just mean!” No, he is not mean; the fact is that the show has standards, and they must be met.

Of course, all of this seems so easy to understand and falls under the category of common sense. However, the beltway seems to have cinched itself too tight around the mind of many of our politicians and has cut off the flow of common sense to the brain, and somehow severed their backbone.

Reuben Egolf
Greencastle, Pa.


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