Ga. agriculture commissioner faults safety plan

By By RAY HENRY

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia's agriculture commissioner is warning that proposed federal food safety rules could be cumbersome and expensive for farmers.

Gary Black, a Republican, asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to adjust its plans for enforcing a law that overhauled the country's food safety system. FDA officials agreed to review the proposals last week after receiving similar requests from others.

Black says he's concerned about rules that will govern farmers whose produce is generally consumed by the public raw, or with little extra processing. Black says the proposed rules will be time-consuming and expensive for growers. He says farmers should not be treated the same as food producers who have been subject to inspections for years.

Food safety experts say the rules will increase costs but also carry benefits, including protecting the public from illnesses.

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