The Food Safety Action legislation currently being considered by Congress will have a profound impact on our farmer partners here and abroad. Equal Exchange is a member of the National Organic Coalition mentioned below, and we have been working hard to keep the most onerous provisions out of the bill.
If you or any of your contacts have influence with any of the Senators listed below, please consider making a call today!
FOOD SAFETY PROPOSALS MUST PROTECT FAMILY FARMS AND SUSTAINABLE & ORGANIC AGRICULTURE
CALL MEMBERS OF THE “HELP” COMMITTEE BEFORE NOVEMBER 18!
The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee will mark up S. 510, the Senate version of major food safety legislation already approved by the House of Representatives, Wednesday, November 18.
The bill focuses on foods regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, not meat and poultry which is regulated by USDA.
The bill includes several key reforms that would put real teeth into federal regulation of large-scale food processing corporations to better protect consumers. However, the bill as written would also do serious harm to family farming, local and regional food systems, conservation and wildlife protection, and organic farming.
The good news is the HELP committee could fix those problems with the adoption of some common sense provisions to retain a crack down on corporate bad actors while not in the same breath erecting dangerous new barriers to the growing healthy food movement based on small and mid-sized family farms, sustainable and organic production methods, and more local and regional food sourcing.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, joined by the National Organic Coalition, have fashioned just such a set of common sense provisions that must be added to S 510.
We urge you to contact your Senator on the HELP Committee (list below) and urge them to support the NSAC/NOC amendments!
It’s easy to call. If your Senator is on the HELP Committee (see the list below), please call or fax their office and ask to speak with the aide in charge of food safety issues. 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 proposals for amendments to S 510 offered by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and the National Organic Coalition.
Specifically, ask them to support the following key principles:
* The bill should provide small and mid-sized family farms that market value-added farm products with training and technical assistance in developing food safety plans for their farms.
* The bill should direct FDA to narrow the kinds of farm activities subject to FDA control and to base those regulations on sound risk analysis. (Current FDA rules assume, without any scientific evidence or risk analysis, that all farms which undertake any one of a long list of processing, labeling or packaging activities should be regulated.)
* The bill should direct FDA to ease compliance for organic farmers by integrating the FDA standards with the organic certification rules. FDA compliance should not jeopardize a farmer’s ability to be organically certified under USDA’s National Organic Program.
* The bill should insist that FDA food safety standards and guidance that will not contradict federal conservation, environmental, and wildlife standards and practices, and not force the farmer to choose which federal agency to obey and which to reject.
Farmers who sell directly to consumers should not be required to keep records and be part of a federal “traceback” system. All other farms should not be required to maintain records electronically or records beyond the first point of sale beyond the farmgate.
List of Senate HELP Committee Members:
Democratic Senators Phone Fax
Tom Harkin (IA) 202-224-3254 No fax
Chris Dodd (CT) 202-224-2823 202-224-1083 Barbara Mikulski (MD) 202-224-4654 202-224-8858
Jeff Bingaman (NM) 202-224-5521 No fax
Patty Murray (WA) 202-224-2621 202-224-0238
Jack Reed (RI) 202-224-4642 202-224-4680 Bernie Sanders (VT) 202-224-5141 202-228-0776 Sherrod Brown (OH) 202-224-2315 202-228-6321 Bob Casey (PA) 202-224-6324 202-228-0604 Kay Hagan (NC) 202-224-6342 202-228-2563 Jeff Merkley (OR) 202-224-3753 202-228-3997 Al Franken (MN) 202-224-5641 No fax
Michael Bennet (CO) 202-224-5852 202-228-5036
Republican Senators Phone Fax
Mike Enzi (WY) 202-224-3424 202-228-0359 Judd Gregg (NH) 202-224-3324 No fax
Lamar Alexander (TN) 202-224-4944 202-228-3398 Richard Burr (NC) 202-224-3154 202-228-2981 Johnny Isakson (GA) 202-224-3643 202-228-0724 Orrin Hatch (UT) 202-224-5251 202-224-6331 Pat Roberts (KS) 202-224-4774 202-224-3514 Tom Coburn (OK) 202-224-5754 202-224-6008 Lisa Murkowski (AK) 202-224-6665 202-224-5301
For more information, contact Liana Hoodes, National Organic Coalition Phone and Fax: 845-744-2304