Does the U.S. need to protect the little guy? It doesn't seem so...
National Editor Tom Karst If you haven't heard, the U.K. now has a a "new independent adjudicator" who will protect suppliers by making sure large retailers treat them "fairly and lawfully" by allowing farmers to raise complaints confidentially.
Listen to this, from The Telegraph coverage:
It prevents large retailers - those with a UK groceries turnover of more than £1 billion - from varying their supply agreements retrospectively and to pay their suppliers within a reasonable time.
TK: I would be curious if readers feel that such an independent authority is needed here in the U.S. Check out the LinkedIn poll to that effect here at the Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group. By the way the FPIDG passed 4,100 members today, up from 1,761 the same time a year ago.
Also check out the link to an active discussion about the United-PMA merger talks.
Regarding the issue of abuse of small growers by large retailers, I have not heard the issue is a big problem in the U.S.
Perhaps with the hot appeal of "local produce," retailers are being particularly good to smaller growers. Still, I would say the supplier-buyer relationship has a lot of commonalities between the U.S. and the U.K, and "varying supply agreements retrospectively" might be one of those common sore points.
The Huffington Post blog looks at the issue of the successful ballot drive to ask voters in California if genetically engineered food should be labeled at retail(Huff=yes!).From the blog post Dr. Joseph Mercola:
Naturally, the biotech industry is not about to let this pass without a fight. Monsanto, the Farm Bureau, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, and corporate agribusiness are all raising millions of dollars to spread their propaganda in an effort to defeat the California ballot initiative, just like they did a decade ago in Oregon.
At that time a cabal of corporate giants, including Monsanto and DuPont, calling themselves the Coalition Against the Costly Labeling Law, outspent the pro-labeling group 30 to 1 and successfully defeated the labeling initiative by scaring voters into believing that labeling genetically engineered foods was unnecessary and would raise food prices.
TK: Truly, as the blogger suggested, it seems a "money bomb" just went off in California over the issue of labeling of GE foods. This closely watched ballot measure will be a proxy for the national debate over GE labeling.
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