Small farmers protest new federal produce rules

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MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Small and organic vegetable farmers say proposed federal food safety rules could harm their businesses, and they're urging people to voice those worries to the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA proposed the rules in response to the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act and is taking comment on them until Nov. 15. The law is aimed at preventing foodborne illness instead of reacting to it.

Farmers say that's a great goal but also say some rules tied to the law show a lack of understanding of agricultural practices and may cost enough to force people out of business.

The Michael Fields Agricultural Institute in Wisconsin has organized letter-writing sessions in Milwaukee, Madison and Middleton. Dozens of similar events are planned nationwide in the next few weeks.

AP-WF-10-12-13 1800GMT

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