Pomegranate Market opens Wednesday with focus on local foods
One has to appreciate the optimism, hope, commitment, and enthusiasm it takes to open a new retail business.
A new grocery store is opening Wednesday in Sioux Falls’ southwest part of town that will focus on offering people as many locally grown products as possible.
The Pomegranate Market, located in the Beakon Centre at 57th Street and Louise Avenue, will be the newest addition to the health foods market in Sioux Falls….The store will have about 9,000 square feet of retail space offering all the things a supermarket has but on a smaller scale including a floral, dairy, produce and meat departments and a bistro with a seating area. In addition it has more than 200 bulk food items and spices.
“We want to be the experts in food,” said Brice Autry, one of the store’s owners.
This is a good thing…and the Chief wishes Brice Autry & company the best of luck….meanwhile, in another and possibly related item of food news:
Senate Passes Sweeping Law on Food Safety
The Senate passed a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s food safety system on Tuesday, after tainted eggs, peanut butter and spinach sickened thousands of people in the last few years and led major food makers to join consumer advocates in demanding stronger government oversight.
The legislation, which passed by a vote of 73 to 25, would greatly strengthen the Food and Drug Administration, an agency that in recent decades focused more on policing medical products than ensuring the safety of food. The bill is intended to keep unsafe foods from reaching markets and restaurants, where they can make people sick — a change from the current practice, which mainly involves cracking down after outbreaks occur.
This is also a good thing, right? I mean, who can be against safe food? Besides, this sort of thing isn’t really new…it represents an expansion and extension of the power of the FDA which first came into being as one of the “progressive” policies invented by Teddy Roosevelt…and we all know that progressive programs all work well, right?
Oh. Maybe not. In this case there are a few concerns given a hat tip even from The NY Times:
The legislation greatly increases the number of inspections of food processing plants that the F.D.A. must conduct, with an emphasis on foods that are considered most high risk — although figuring out which those are is an uncertain science. Until recently, peanut butter would not have made the list.
OK…we aren’t sure what’s risky…but we still will be able to reduce the (unknown) risk proactively. HUH? That’s science based? It’s not even LOGIC based!
Staunch opposition to the bill by Senator Tom Coburn, Republican of Oklahoma, forced months of delay and eventually required the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, to call a series of time-consuming procedural votes to end debate. Mr. Coburn offered his own version of the legislation. It eliminated many of the bill’s requirements because he said that more government rules would be deleterious and that the free market was working.
In general…we really have a minimal amount of food problems in this country…although when they do occur the media are all over it like flies on a fertilizer pile. Of course, then if there is the perception of a bigger problem, then surely it calls for a bigger government to protect us, right?
Among the Senate bill’s last major sticking points was how it would affect small farmers and food producers. Some advocates for small farms and organic food producers said the legislation would destroy their industry under a mountain of paperwork. Senator Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana, pushed for a recent addition to the bill that exempts producers with less than $500,000 in annual sales who sell most of their food locally.
That provision led the United Fresh Produce Association, a trade [big producer lobbying] group, to announce recently that it would oppose the legislation since small food operations have been the source of some food recalls in recent years.
We are disappointed that the Senate continues to ignore the egregious loopholes allowed in this legislation that will erode consumer confidence in our nation’s food safety system. Now, when going to a supermarket, restaurant, farmers market or roadside stand, consumers will be faced with the question of whether the fruits and vegetables offered for sale adhere to basic food safety standards or not.
To unpack this, what they are actually saying is that Ole Jensen, hauling a load of Forestbut melons to sell in the strip-mall parking lot (or wherever) has to have the same administrative load complete with lab-grade certification of quality as Dole, DelMonte, Cargill, Kraft, etc. Oh, Ole doesn’t have a legal/administrative department to keep up with that load? Oh well, I guess he’ll need to do something else with his land, and time….and the same thing would apply to those selling in a local farmer’s market, or to small specialty retailers like the above mentioned Pomegranate Market.
The House version of the bill does impose this extensive bureaucratic framework, although it is somewhat less obnoxious in the Senate bill, thus causing the unhappiness of the United Fresh group, who apparently would would love to use the regulatory regime to weed out local competition (up to including the eventual enforcement of FDA standards on backyard garden production, strictly for our own good of course.
Unfortunately, instead of adhering to a science- and risk-based approach that was consistently the foundation of the underlying bill, the Senate has chosen to include a provision that will exempt certain segments of the food industry based on the size of operation, geographic location and customer base.
As far as the science is concerned, as noted above, the reasoning here is missing in action. Again, they want NO exception for small local producers…trusting in the wisdom of the bureaucracy to do the right thing…and not co-incidentally eliminate a competing consumer choice.
Frankly, the Chief has more faith in Ole Jensen, and in the local suppliers of Brice’s Pomegranate Market than in some major member of United Fresh bringing in produce from Mexico, Honduras, or somewhere else, where there REALLY are some grounds for concern about food production and quality standards.