Wednesday, December 01, 2010

An update on food safety and child nutrition legislation

JenYesterday the Senate passed the food safety bill with unique bipartisan support (73-25) with the Manger's amendment and Tester-Hagan language in place, meaning the exemptions farmers, eaters and activists fought for to ensure that local and regional food systems continue to grow should be enacted. Now, the House needs to approve the Senate's language before it can be passed on to the President for his final approval. While we thought this was a sure thing, as the House had previously indicated they would accept the language – there seems to have been a procedural error in the Senate that may hold up the bill entirely, launching a power struggle within Congress. Read here for more information. We will be sure to keep you updated as this saga continues to unfold!

Today, Congress will vote on the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (S. 3307) (http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-3307), the bill that reauthorizes childhood nutrition programs and includes provisions to help get healthy, farm-fresh food into our school cafeterias. You stepped up to tell your Senators to protect the rights of small and mid-sized farmers as they considered the food safety bill, now tell your Representative you expect them to vote yes on child nutrition and support family farmers and good food for kids! You can get your Representative's name and direct number at Congress.org (just enter your zip code). Or, call the Capitol Switchboard, provide your Representative's name and be directly connected to their office: (202) 225-3121. Once connected, ask to speak to the staff member who works on child nutrition. Our partners at the Community Food Security Coalition, who have been tireless working on this legislation, suggest you use this script:

I am a constituent of ________ and I am calling to ask him/her to vote YES for the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (S. 3307) when it comes to the floor for a vote this week. Unless Congress sends the bill to the President now, supporters will have to start over in the new Congress. We must not make our children wait any longer.
And if you need a good chuckle this morning, check out Secretary of Ag, Tom Vilsack, as he promotes the child nutrition bill on the Colbert Report last night!



Thanks for doing your part to build a vibrant family farm-centered food system!

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