WASHINGTON, D.C. — Requiring water that touches the skin of growing fruits and vegetables be of drinking quality could force growers out of business, House Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., wrote in a letter to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg.
Hastings expressed his concern about food safety regulations proposed by the FDA in a Nov. 15 letter. A public comment period on the proposals ends Nov. 22.
Hastings noted Washington grows more apples, pears, sweet cherries, mint and hops than any other state and that much of that production occurs with water from open irrigation ditches. Water is used not only to irrigate fruit trees but for frost protection, cooling and sunburn prevention, Hastings wrote.
“These proposed water quality standards are simply unachievable for the vast majority of growers in my district,” he wrote.
The letter followed a meeting Hastings and Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., had with Deputy FDA Commissioner Mike Taylor, who agreed to work to address concerns of growers and indicated the FDA would release a new draft for public comment before adoption.
— Dan Wheat