NSAC's Blog

Food Safety Legislation Heading for the Senate Floor

September 15, 2010

September 15, 2010



The Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510) could reach the Senate floor as early as tomorrow.  NSAC has been able to win several improvements to the bill but more changes are needed before we can support the bill.

S.510 would considerably ramp up FDA regulation on farms that even minimally process their crops and sell them to restaurants, food coops, groceries, schools and wholesalers.  An amendment sponsored by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) would exempt small farm and small food processing facilities as well as small and mid-sized farmers who primarily direct market their products to consumers, stores or restaurants within their region.

Please call your Senators today and ask them to support the Tester Amendment.

It’s easy to call:

Go to Congress.org and type in your zip code.  Click on your Senator’s name, and then on the contact tab for their phone number.  You can also call the Capitol Switchboard and ask to be directly connected to your Senator’s office: 202-224-3121.

The message is simple. “I am a constituent of Senator___________ and I am calling to ask him/her to support the Tester Amendment and to include the Tester language in the Manager’s Amendment to the food safety bill.  The Tester Amendment will exempt small farm and food facilities and farmers who direct market their products to consumers, stores or restaurants.   We need a food safety bill that cracks down on corporate bad actors without erecting new barriers to family farms and the growing healthy food movement.  Our continuing economic recovery demands that we preserve these market opportunities for small  and mid-sized family farms.

Report your Call:

Click here to tell us how your call went.

Learn More:

Most sustainable agriculture and family farm groups think the Senate bill with changes won by NSAC is a very significant improvement over the companion bill passed by the House of Representatives (HR 2749) last year.  The changes listed below will be included in the bill that goes to the Senate floor for a vote.  We can’t support the Senate bill, however, unless the Tester amendment is also adopted.  We strongly oppose the companion House measure, and stand ready to defend the “good amendments” to the Senate bill when it goes to conference with the House later this year.

The best way to ensure that the Tester provision is included with the final bill that emerges from conference is for it to be included in the Manager’s Amendment as it goes to the floor of the Senate.  The Manager’s Amendment includes all of the language that has the support of the three Democrats and three Republicans who are sponsoring the bill.

The Manager’s Amendment to S.510 already includes the following important improvements to the bill that have been backed by NSAC:

  • Sanders (D-VT) amendment (requiring FDA to write regulations to determine low risk on-farm processing activities that can be exempt from regulatory requirement);
  • Bennet (D-CO) amendment (to reduce unnecessary paperwork and streamline requirements for farmers and small processors);
  • Stabenow (D-MI) amendment (to create a USDA-delivered competitive grants program for farmer food safety training);
  • Boxer (D-CA) amendment (to eliminate anti-wildlife habitat language from the bill); and
  • Brown (D-OH) amendment (on traceability requirements, including exemptions for direct marketing and farm identity-preserved marketing).

For more information on the Senate Food Safety bill, read our latest information alert here and our Food Safety Policy Brief here.

Categories: Action Alerts, Food Safety

7 responses to “Food Safety Legislation Heading for the Senate Floor”

  1. Paula Barkley Fensom says:

    sent emails today

  2. Carol Havens says:

    Must protect small farmers!

  3. Natalie Ford says:

    PLEASE protect the small farmers. !

  4. Thomas Milcarek says:

    Let’s bring some sane culture back to our land and grow soil and food and kids in close proximity… and no dang chemicles either… “feed the soil and it will feed you” Masanobu Fukuoka, fromer agricultural minister of Japan

  5. auntybelle says:

    The real problem is centralized mass production of food. We must support local agriculture and local farms, encourage less not more federal regulations–leave it to states to regulate agriculture so that states with good programs earn reputations for safe clean foods. The federal system is too big, disorganized and too bureaucratic to be effective.

  6. Diane says:

    Letter to Virginia Senators Warner and Webb:

    I am contacting you today to ask you to please support the Tester Amendment to the Food Safety Modernization Act.

    As you know, we are facing the triple challenges of peak oil, global warming and economic dislocation in our country (and around the world). Should we experience a new oil crisis with spikes in fuel prices, it will be important to have resilient, sustainable local communities. Small farmers in Northern Virginia could be called upon to help sustain our communities with local food products, ranging from meat to produce. Please do not place any additional burdens on these small farmers. They are vital to our local economy and our health and well-being.

    Thank you very much for taking the time to consider this issue. I strongly urge you to support the Tester amendment.

  7. […] the country made this happen.  CFSA worked with organizations like the Healthy Food Coalition, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, the Western Organization of Resource Councils, the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, the Northeast […]