“Food safety knows no size.” That’s the statement coming from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association on November 30, 2010 after the Senate did pass the Food Safety Modernization Act with an exemption for small food producers and processors the night before. That exemption came from an amendment offered by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and Kay Hagen (D-NC). The Tester/Hagan amendment would exempt producers whose annual sales are less than $500,000 and who are not more than 275 miles away from the end-user, be it a consumer, restaurant or a distribution facility. Executive Director of Legislative Affairs Kristina Butts said basing exemptions on size, location and proximity to the markets does not make food safer.
The National Farmers Union applauded the vote. “The passage of this bill is a step in the right direction for food safety,” said NFU President Roger Johnson. “This is a historic bill, one that ensures our nation has a safe food supply. The legislation calls for increased inspections of food production and processing facilities and allows appropriators to increase funding for food safety enforcement.” The bill is the first in more than 70 years to significantly expand the FDA’s ability to inspect the nation’s food supply.
Looking specifically to the senators from our region, Senators Enzi, Johnson, Baucus, Tester, Dorgan and Conrad all voted for the legislation. Senators Barrasso and Thune voted against it.
For more details on the bill, CLICK HERE.
The House must now pass the legislation before it goes to the President’s desk.
© Northern Ag Network 2010