There’s been some talk about the food safety bill currently before Congress, with concern coming from teabaggers and progressives alike that the bill will hurt small and organic farmers. Well, here’s a run down about what the bill does:
In a nutshell, the act consolidates the government’s food safety inspection from a broken, dysfunctional, and unworkable system. It gives the FDA more power to make inspections, recall spoiled and infected food, and assist state and local governments in dealing with emergencies. It’s good stuff, but there are still legitimate concerns about how it will impact small farmers that produce food to sell directly to consumers at farmers’ markets and food co-ops. That’s why there’s the Tester-Hagan Amendment:
The Tester-Hagan amendment will fix a lot of the problems with the bill, allowing small farms to apply for exemptions and assuring that there’s oversite to guarantee that it’s actually small farmers and not shady big agri-business firms that exploit it. All in all, the Food Safety Modernization Act is an important piece of legislation. Tester-Hagan makes it even better.
By the way, John Tester and Kay Hagan are both rather progressive-populist Democrats from Montana and North Carolina. Those are both good examples of how much better we could be doing in Arkansas than the likes of Lincoln, Pryor, and Boozman.