Congress is close to passing new food safety rules, but some small farmers say the legislation is reactionary and would put them under too tight of restrictions.

From the Wall Street Journal:

“I know people who have been small farmers for 25 to 30 years who are looking to get out of the business because food safety is becoming so alarmist,” said Mary Alionis, whose eight-acre Whistling Duck Farm in Grants Pass, Ore., sells produce to farmers markets and restaurants.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are an estimated 76 million U.S. cases of food-borne illness annually, resulting in 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths.

A report by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services issued Wednesday said the Food and Drug Administration inspected fewer than one-quarter of U.S. food-production facilities annually and failed to take regulatory action against more than half of those that violated standards in fiscal year 2007.

Mr. Harkin, chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which unanimously approved the Senate’s version of the bill in November, said the FDA “needs additional resources to keep the food on our tables safe.”

What are your thoughts on balancing sustainability, small business and safety?