Re: “There’s a certification for that,” March 16, 2016, Capital Press.

Time was, farmers produced the foods we ate. We largely processed them ourselves. No longer. The link that has been broken is the one between real food and family farmers, and the food-like substances in our stores. Look on the container. There’s a chemical for that. If you can’t pronounce it and do not know its impact, maybe you shouldn’t eat it.

Ag-gag laws and laws that deny consumers information feed mistrust. The farmers I know are proud of what they do and happy to show you around. Take all the pictures you want. If you want it to be a crime to photograph your operation, what are you trying to hide?

Yes, there are a great many certifications out there. There are a lot of brands of chips on the store shelf too. None of the certifications are required if your customer trusts you. I certify organic. This covers most of it and is all I find I need. Many of these other certifications were created for producers who want the image of organic without adhering to the standards.

Lots of things are regulated by the government. Lots of paperwork does not mean the need is being met. Customers want safe, healthy, food and humane and environmentally sound farms. All that government paperwork does not mean our food is safe. So, the private sector steps in with the tools they have, certifications. Someone, for a fee, will take those pictures the ag-gag laws hide.

Jonathan Spero

Grants Pass, Ore.

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