Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Senate Passes Overhaul of Food Safety Law

     The Senate this morning passed an overhaul of the nation's food-safety system by a vote of 73 to 25. The legislation would strengthen the Food and Drug Administration. Staunch opposition by Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma forced months of delay, because he wanted less food safety regulation, not more.
     Despite unusual bipartisan support, the bill could still die because the Senate must be reconciled with version passed earlier by the House of Representatives. The Senate's version includes an local-food producers' exemption introduced by Senator Jon Tester. 
     An article of the passage is available here in the New York Times.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Federal Safety Standards Would Help Small Farms

Matthew Enis of Supermarket News wrote a column explaining why pending food safety legislation should not let small, independents off the hook. Some independent growers and food activists fear that the FDA would use increased powers to harass small farmers and the increased compliance cost could them out of business. 

"The fact is, the local foods movement is enjoying an all-purpose halo effect right now, but advocates can't take safety for granted. It's still highly unlikely that a farmers' market will ever cause a multi-state outbreak. But, the Internet and social media tools will magnify the effect of minor outbreaks in the future. If small growers want to maintain their wholesome image, they should expect all of their peers to be meeting the same standards for safety."