Food Safety Bill Nears Passage in Senate
Friday, Nov. 19
The US Senate recessed last night without taking a final vote on the food safety bill. A final vote in the Senate is now not expected until the week after Thanksgiving. Passage would send it to the House of Representatives. House leadership already has agreed to pass the bill without further revisions, fast-tracking the legislation for President Obama's OK.
Yesterday, several measures were added to the bill as a result of compromise efforts in the Senate. An amendment sponsored by Sen. John Tester (D-Mont) was added after several changes were made to his proposal. Those changes altered the definition of locally-sourced foods, reducing the distance from farm-to-market from 400 miles to 275, and giving the FDA the authority to oversee small farms and food processors in the event of an outbreak of food poisoning.
The failure to vote before recessing for the evening was due to an unrelated issue, but it threatens the bill's future. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla) has insisted that the Senate first address the issue of Congressional earmarks before voting on any other legislation. His stance meant the Senate's 30-hour window to vote on the bill expired, forcing the Senate to vote to give itself another 30 hours when it reassembles after the holiday. Earlier, another amendment to the bill, calling for the banning of the chemical bisphenol A in baby bottles, was withdrawn by Sen. Dianne Feinstein(D-Cali).
Large scale food born illnesses are, sadly, becoming a fact of life in this country. Government oversight agencies are not doing enough to tackle the complex issues surrounding factory scale farming, food processing and food production. We are starting to pay a heavy price for this. Senate Bill S510 is the food safety bill authored to address this systemic breakdown.
You can learn more about the bill at govtrack.us.There's still time for you to take action. Your voice is needed! A number of propsed amendments have temporarly slowed the progress of the bill. Write your elected officials and tell them to protect our family farms and small scale food producers.
The Cornucopia Institute, via their friends at Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, has put together useful information to help you learn more about what's at stake and to TAKE ACTION.
Our local farmers and producers are not the problem regarding food safety. These hard working people deserve be treated fairly and equitably, allowing them to continue to grow and produce high-quality products that are brimming with flavor, goodness and diversity. Create more jobs - grow farmers!