The much buzzed about FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510) could reach the floor of the U.S. Senate today. Following the shocking recall of half a billion eggs potentially contaminated with salmonella, the spotlight has been set firmly on this piece of legislation moving around Capitol Hill. However, it's essential that S.510 doesn’t harm family farm agriculture, local and regional food systems and the good work of the Good Food movement.
Groups like the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition have worked hard to improve this bill, but a few more changes are urgently needed. S.510 would considerably ramp up FDA regulation on farms that even minimally process their crops and sell them to restaurants, food co-ops, groceries, schools and wholesalers, with disastrous implications for small and mid-sized farmers and local and regional food systems development.
An amendment sponsored by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) would exempt small farms and small food processing facilities, as well as small and mid-sized farmers who primarily market their products directly to consumers, stores or restaurants in their region.
Please call your Senators today and ask them to support the Tester Amendment to craft a food safety bill that makes sense and doesn’t squash the Good Food movement.
You can call in just three easy steps:
- Go to www.Congress.org and type in your zip code. Click on your Senator's name, and then on the contact tab for their phone number. Or, call the Capitol Switchboard and ask to be directly connected to your Senator's office at 202-224-3121.
- Once connected, ask to speak to the legislative staff person responsible for agriculture. If they are unavailable, leave a voice mail message. Be sure to include your name and phone number.
- Tell them this simple message:
"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."