Tom O’Brien, Washington, D.C.-based representative for the Newark, Del.-based Produce Marketing Association, said there is no general U.S. Department of Agriculture definition for “local” for marketing claim purposes. O’Brien said it seems unlikely that the USDA would create a rigid definition for “local” unless ordered to do so by lawmakers.
“They did define organic because Congress told them to do it.”
The Tester amendment in the Food Safety Modernization Act is sort of a stand-in definition of local, O’Brien said. That provision exempts smaller food shippers from some FDA food safety regulations if the majority of food marketed by the facility is sold direct to consumers, restaurants or grocery stores in the same state or within 275 miles of the facility.