Update: Food Safety Bill

Washington, D.C.—After a delay in voting prior to the Thanksgiving holiday, the Senate finally passed the Food Safety Modernization Act on November 30 (Yea-Nay Vote: 73-25). Although the bill has moved to the House for debate, there is a constitutional stipulation threatening the bill’s ratification. Section 107 of the bill contains a revenue (tax-raising) provision and the constitution states that all revenue raising legislation must originate in the House. Thus the Senate must unanimously vote to strike off the revenue provision or else the House can only send the bill back to the Senate for further revision and voting. If the bill does not pass the House, the bill will die and must be reintroduced next session in a very different Congress.

The bill passed the Senate with amendments specifically protecting small farmers and producers from disenfranchisement under the new legislation. Senator John Tester (D-MT) filed a passing amendment that exempts small farms with annual sales of less than $500,000 and which sell their goods within a 275-mile radius of the farm’s location. Moreover, Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) filed a passing amendment protecting small farmers from damages caused by erroneous recalls.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, January 2011, (online 12/3/10)