Update from Food Safety News by Helena Bottemiller
The Senate made substantial progress on the pending Food Safety Bill Wednesday. To move the sweeping food bill forward, the upper chamber voted 74-25 to limit debate, circumventing Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) objection. And key stakeholders resolved the two controversial issues that have plagued the bill: bisphenol A and small farm exemptions.
The Tester-Hagan Amendment, on the other hand, remains a real possibility. The amendment, introduced by Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) and supported by Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), would exempt farms and food producers that either fit the FDA’s definition of “very small business,” sell most of their products directly to consumers, restaurants, or retailers within state lines or within 400 miles that have annual sales of less than half a million dollars.
It remains unclear whether the major food and agriculture industry groups, who have recently grown louder in their opposition to any blanket exemptions, will find the deal amenable.
The Senate is set to debate the food safety bill at 9:30 a.m EST Thursday, likely through late afternoon.