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As the Senate continues debate on S. 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, the United Fresh Produce Association and produce industry allies (names found below) are continuing to build opposition to an amendment offered by Sen. Jon Tester of Montana exempting small farms and business operations from basic federal food safety requirements.
“The fresh produce industry has long supported food safety modernization with industry leaders testifying to that effect before Congressional committees numerous times,” said Robert Guenther, United SVP’s of public policy. “But, we have also consistently stated that food safety policy must be based on risk and science, not speculation and ideology. Unfortunately, Senator Tester’s amendment would reject a risk-based approach to food safety, setting up a federal food safety system that adheres to arbitrary exemptions rather than to sound scientific principles.
“United Fresh joined today with 19 other produce organizations to send the Senate a strong statement of our opposition to the Tester amendment.
“As stated in our letter, comments from Senator Tester and supporters are now making it abundantly clear that their cause is not to argue that small farms pose less risk, but to wage an ideological war against the vast majority of American farmers who devote their personal commitment to feeding 300 million Americans every day,” noted Guenther. “We are appalled at statements by Senator Tester reported today in the Capital Press that ‘small producers are not raising a commodity, but are raising food. Industrial agriculture takes the people out of the equation.’ This is simply hogwash, and should insult not only the farmers of America, but the intelligence of members of Congress,” Guenther added.
The consequences of inadequate food safety precautions, he continued, “have no boundaries as to size of operation, geography, nor whether the product is sold at a farm stand or grocery store. The consumer has a right to know that all food that they purchase has been produced, transported and offered for sale under the same food safety requirements.”
Aside from United Fresh, other organizations that are opposing Sen. Jon Tester’s amendment include:
American Mushroom Institute
Fresh Produce Association of the Americas
National Potato Council
National Watermelon Association
Produce Marketing Association
U.S. Apple Association
California Citrus Mutual
California Strawberry Commission
California Grape and Tree Fruit League
Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association
Florida Tomato Exchange
Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association
Idaho Grower-Shipper Associations
Idaho Potato Commission
New York Apple Association
Northwest Horticultural Council
Texas Produce Association
Washington State Potato Commission