UNITED FRESH OPPOSES TESTER AMENDMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C.-As the Senate continues debate on S. 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, the United Fresh Produce Association and produce industry allies are continuing to build opposition to an amendment offered by Senator Jon Tester of Montana exempting small farms and business operations from basic federal food safety requirements. Robert Guenther, Senior Vice President of Public Policy, offered the following comments:
"The fresh produce industry has long supported food safety modernization with industry leaders testifying to that effect before Congressional committees numerous times. But, we have also consistently stated that food safety policy must be based on risk and science, not speculation and ideology. Unfortunately, Senator Tester's amendment would reject a risk-based approach to food safety, setting up a federal food safety system that adheres to arbitrary exemptions rather than to sound scientific principles.
"United Fresh joined with 19 other produce organizations to send the Senate a strong statement of our opposition to the Tester amendment.
"As stated in our letter, comments from Senator Tester and supporters are now making it abundantly clear that their cause is not to argue that small farms pose less risk, but to wage an ideological war against the vast majority of American growers who devote their personal commitment to feeding 300 million Americans every day. We are appalled at statements by Senator Tester reported today in the Capital Press that 'Small producers are not raising a commodity, but are raising food. Industrial agriculture, he said, takes the people out of the equation.' This is simply hogwash, and should insult not only the growers of America, but the intelligence of members of Congress.
"The consequences of inadequate food safety precautions have no boundaries as to size of operation, geography nor whether the product is sold at a farm stand or grocery store. The consumer has a right to know that all food that they purchase has been produced, transported and offered for sale under the same food safety requirements."