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The EPA's Proposed Rule Change: A Threat to Small Meat Processors and Local Food Systems

Beef patties in a factory with inset photo of EPA logo

Photo from the Defender (see link below)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering significant amendments to regulations governing meat processing facilities, with the purported aim of improving water quality. However, the proposed changes have sparked controversy and concern, particularly among small meat processors and advocates of local food systems.

At the heart of the issue is the potential financial burden these regulations would impose on small-scale meat processors. The EPA's proposed upgrades, estimated to cost between $300,000 to $400,000 initially, plus ongoing maintenance fees, could be crippling for many small businesses. This financial strain might force them to close their doors, leading to a decline in local meat sources for consumers.

Critics argue that the proposed rule change could exacerbate the consolidation of the meat industry, as smaller processors may be compelled to sell out to larger corporations to afford compliance. This scenario not only limits consumer choice but also threatens the livelihoods of small farmers and ranchers who rely on local processing facilities.

Legislative efforts such as H.R.7079, dubbed the "Beef Act," have emerged to challenge the EPA's proposed rule and provide support to small meat processors. Advocates emphasize the importance of preserving local food systems and ensuring consumers have access to fresh, sustainably sourced meat.

In essence, the debate surrounding the EPA's proposed rule change underscores broader issues of food sovereignty, economic viability for small businesses, and environmental stewardship. As consumers, supporting local producers and advocating for policies that promote a diverse and resilient food system becomes increasingly imperative.

Please support small farms. Let your legislators know that you oppose the new EPA amendments and support H.R 7079.

If you like to read more about these proposed EPA amendments, their potential effects and H.R. 7079 click on the links below.

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