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Merrigan Expresses Worry About FSMA’s Impact on Agriculture

Kathleen Merrigan, who recently left her role as Deputy Secretary of Agriculture at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said this week she is concerned about the negative impact the Food Safety Modernization Act could have on small- and medium-sized farms.

According to a report by AgriPulse, Merrigan made the remarks at CropLife America’s National Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday. She told the audience that the FSMA regulations being developed have “the potential to transform, disrupt, improve and potentially destroy some operations.”

“It’s really big,” she said. “It could really change agriculture and certain parts of our industry more than you realize.”

“No one gets a pass on food safety, but sometimes I worry about the bureaucracy not always being as creative as they might be in achieving the same level of food safety at small and medium size operations,” she said.

Merrigan made the comments after telling the audience that she believes the push for labeling GMOs is “not going to go away.”

She was also asked why she decided to leave USDA. According to the report, “Merrigan did not answer directly but said there has been ‘a mass exodus of deputies across the federal government. We’re a big club. I do believe it’s the hardest job in the federal government. There’s a lot of pressure there.’”

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