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Free Market Option

 
steward
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What say you to this ? There is a movement to create an alternative to government regulation . It involves opting out of the regulatory system and labeling your service or end product " Market Regulated ". So , if you sold raw milk or organic vegetables and labeled them "Organic {or Beyond Organic } - Market Regulated" you could do so and your customer would have the option of making an informed choice . In my eyes this opens many doors for permies to exist alongside the BigGuys and not have to play their game . It expands freedom of choice for all . The only downside for the producer is you cannot hide behind adherence to the regulatory process when something goes wrong . But adherence to the regulatory process only works when arguing with regulators and holds little weight in civil suits anyways . What is there to lose ? No annoying inspectors or Federal Agents jackbooting down your doors for selling Jersey Cow milk or herbal tictures ! More options for the small farmer !
 
pollinator
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So what happens if you bring a potentially dangerous product to market? I mean salmonella and tuberculosis still existed last time I checked. Not opposed just seeking more information about how this would play out. I mean, one person screwing up would reflect poorly on the opt out system as a whole wouldn't it? Though come to think of it all the organic certification inspections I've seen where pretty lack luster in and of themselves
 
wayne stephen
steward
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Recently Foster Farms had a salmonella outbreak that hospitalized dozens of people. I'm sure those chicken houses and food processing plants had been inspected by the USDA and other agencies , the regulations did not stop the outbreak from occuring . It was in the news for a few days and then the last I heard of it was "Inspectors are on the way " and then no more word of it .So , two things happened . First there was a media storm , Foster Farms was getting some really bad publicity . Secondly , as soon as we heard "inspectors on the way" everybody relaxed and stopped talking about it . I know Foster Farms was nervous about the inspectors and daily fines accruing . I am also sure that the bad publicity was even more of a worry . The media storm had some people shaking . The prospect of having a name brand forever linked with salmonella in the public eye . Maybe the regulatory process has created a complacent consumer who is satisfied that the government is taking care of them . I wonder what would have happened if the media and the public looking at the food industry was the only corrective action . Maybe the public would start taking a deeper look at what is being fed to them . Maybe they would stop buying it .
The "Market Regulated" label is only an alternative to the USDA stamp - or other agencys approval . Could be a high mileage vehicle that does not have DOTs stamp of approval . This alternative does not abolish the regulatory agencies for those who wish to adhere to that process or force consumers to purchase that option . My real question is not : what would happen if we abolished the regulations . My question is : would you put out a product with that label ? Would you purchase a product with that label ? Do you feel capable of learning enough to buy or produce a safe product without the governments stamp of approval ? I do .
So if you brought a tainted product to market you would still have the media and the consumer to contend with . You would still be liable in the courts for harming someone . You would just cut out the middleman .
 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
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Yeah, I see what you're saying.

But I'm still curious on the flip side when it come to liability. It seems to me even if people die due to this most recent salmonella outbreak, and even if that outbreak was caused due to clear negligence - I can be pretty confident that no one will see serious jail time.

If anyone can go about putting out anything with a 'good enough by my standards' sticker what is the liability. Say your a beginning caner for instance? I mean yeah - you or I might work in two beautiful bountiful permaculture gardens, with a super clean kitchen and pack spaces that aren't overrun with errant poultry, but does everyone?

Would the producer (and any market which would carry such a product) assume full liability and risk that sort of thing? I mean I guess I would need to know that in order to answer whether or not I feel comfortable labeling my products thusly. Am I making a personal guarantee on my life and word of honor that this product is 100 percent with out fail always always always safe or by my neck do please hang me?

I have engaged in a fair amount of barter for produce and never needed any sort of label because everyone was familiar with and felt comfortable with each others general practices and standards. But that sort of faith is not so easily replicated in the broader market where people by things that are produced by people they do not know personally. And here I am back to wanting to understand more about how such a label would work.

What would make a shop or a seller or a market have enough faith in this products safety to accept it and the attached liability? This is a function (and the liability) is currently absorbed by the government.
 
pollinator
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You are falling into the trap of .gov removes your liability. All .gov does is add to an operations liability. You have an entity with unlimited resources and no vested interest in the actual well being of anyone but themselves.
 
Landon Sunrich
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No arguments about entities with infinite resources coupled with profoundly narrow minds and selfish natures will be heard from me. But forgive me if I'm just flat wrong here, I know nothing about law and commerce, currently though the grocer is not liable for contamination that happens before it gets to them right? and this is a function of people having some faith in a regulatory quality assurance up stream. Like,

I could go to Scamway and buy a 20 pack case of Foster Farms Salmonella Brand: Chicken Corn Dogs (R), microwave myself up a plate of them, get ill, report it to the store, report it to the company, report it to the feds, and all three would *snickers wryly* jump into action and start recalling and all - but because of the regulation upstream of the store (who kept the product properly frozen) isn't liable for the products inherent safety. But that seems to break down a bit with no 'oversight'. Am I mistaken here or missing something?

I've sold to co-ops and small local owned grocers and I was able to do that because we where 'certified' there was some degree of 'accountability' and that conferred trust. I've also been involved enough to know how much produce a place like PCC goes through, and there is now way a market of that scale would be capable of conducting due diligence with all of their suppliers.

Now mind, I am not saying that regulation is effective. But isn't it one of those illusory glues for society?

And again I reflect on barter where two individuals come to a clear agreement with no stickers needed.

 
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Landon Sunrich wrote: Am I making a personal guarantee on my life and word of honor that this product is 100 percent with out fail always always always safe or by my neck do please hang me?


I think that if society carried out this sort of justice, even occasionally, we would see fewer food scandals.
 
wayne stephen
steward
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Adhering to the regulations gives CAFOs / related food processing insulation from civil liability to a point . Usually in a civil case the litigant must be able to prove some kind of gross negligence . If the illness was caused by only a small deviation from the approved process then the defendant can argue due diligence . In the end the regulations uphold a legal credibilty for the industry .
Possibly , by providing transparency about a market regulated product - such as Salatins open to the public chicken slaughter day - you can argue an assumed risk by the consumer if you get sued . Not making false claims , providing some pro vs. con [without making yourself look bad] , getting involved in public discussions , press , forums , etc. that increase public awareness may create the same legal insulation as regulations . Creating trade organizations which set voluntary high standards for public safety and adhering to those practices would help also. American Hospitals are usually inspected by JCAHO , a voluntary trade organization similar to the Michelin group that gives hotels their star ratings . They set a really high standard . The state regulators usually get involved only if there is a gross breach of the JCAHO process.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Regulatory bodies also act as gatekeepers. Self regulation of industry, where the government abdicates it's responsibility, can lead to a multi player monopoly situation where financial barriers are placed in the way. Newcomers are excluded from entering the marketplace. In the U.S. it's done mostly through red tape and costly upgrades. In Canada and Europe, quota systems criminalize food production by citizens unwilling to pay for the right to grow it. The quota can cost more than the farm and buildings. These systems protect the market. Public health is their fall back argument, but it's just about preserving market share.

I started this thread about quotas a couple years ago. This system needs to be stopped by whatever mean, no matter how extreme --- https://permies.com/t/11069/farm-income/Quota-system-stranglehold-Canadian-agriculture

 
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Location: Mineola, Texas
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When I "dream" of a system that I would like to see it is where I buy (or sell) a product with complete transparency.
I want to see the chicken cam. I want to see the farm. I want to know whether the person producing the food has the same ethos that I do.
I want to know that my chicken didn't bake in the heat for 15 hours before they put it in the freezer.
When I "buy the farm" and I am having that discussion with my customers, I want them to be completely at ease with the way I produce food for their table.
Regulation becomes important when we lose that connection. Now to be honest., and as it has been pointed out, regulation ain't all it is cracked up to be, but
conventional chicken may not be GOOD food, but it has been dipped in bleach, and usually, it won't kill me right away.

When we lose the relationship with our food, and its production, then we all want to be certain that it is safe. What we ask for is Govt. Regulation. We got that.
When we have that relationship with the production, we know where it came from. We no longer need Govt. Regulation in this scenario.

In addition, the government regulations are being written with the help of and for the benefit of those that are big producers. This means that us little guys with maybe 10 dozen eggs a day are left out of the conversation to our detriment.

That said, as producers, we should move away from Govt Oversight and build relationship with the customer to become "their farm". As customers, we need to build that relationship in reverse, becoming a friend to the farmer.
Make that farmer your farmer, much like you might have a dentist, or a doctor, or a lawyer or an accountant.

When it comes to regulation, you still need to pay attention, or they will regulate you out of business. Concentrate at the state level though. This is where 90% of the regulation takes place, and I can assure you that you can meet with your state representatives to lobby your side of a bill.

My $.02 if anybody cares.

Richard
 
pollinator
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Richard, I agree.

What I would like to do, and by extension, see adopted by others, is a voluntary adherence to a whole "chicken cam" idea, extended to separate feeds for individual animals. I would like to be able to have single-animal sourcing for milk, meat, and eggs (as in, this milk came from Bessie, this is Fryda the Chicken, these are Henny's eggs) with QR codes to the individual live cam and archived feeds. I think demand would make home or farm-testing kits for dangerous bacterial contamination more prevalent, allowing for better animal and human health.

This system could easily coexist with the Wheaton Ecoscale, and only Canadian Restriction Boards stand in the way of commercial adoption (and the cost of initial investment and what would be necessary to turn borderline operations respectable enough for prime time).

I think that even a system that focused on video feeds of individual paddocks and the interiors of shelters, and then linked animals and their products to where they live(d) would achieve my goals to some extent.

-CK
 
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