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Impact of Food Recalls on the American Farmer

12 March 2009

US - Pennsylvania Farmers Union member Sheryl Vanco appeared before the House Small Business Subcommittee on Regulations and Health Care today to discuss the economic impact food recalls can have on family farmers and their small businesses.

Vanco and her husband Steve own and operate a dairy in Warren County, Pennsylvania.

Vanco said her dairy operation’s daily duties are to both monitor the milk quality and protect the health of the animals. If a food safety situation occurs, the farmer is held financially responsible regardless if the problem occurred on the farm.

“A food product recall not only leads to severe financial losses to the producer, but also spurs consumer fear and leads to depressed product sales across the country. The farmer is left with lower market prices, which can last for weeks or months and have a devastating effect,” Vanco said.

Vanco told the committee food imports pose a much greater food safety threat to American consumers than domestic food. She cited the recent contamination of Chinese infant formula as a wakeup call to strengthen food import standards.

“Many of the imported food products sold in the United States are not produced under the same safety standards that we meet every day,” Vanco said. “Consumers need to know where their food is coming from and the conditions under which it is produced.”

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