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Food Safety Bill Needs Work

By Gary Truitt | Hoosier Ag Today

The food safety bill that passed the House last Thursday faces an uphill struggle in the Senate. A possible log jam includes healthcare reform and a climate change bill. Food Safety legislation already introduced in the Senate by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin has attracted co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle and could be a vehicle in the Senate.

Trade associations are already making plans to make their points. Expect a bevy of meetings with Senators when they return home beginning next week. Several associations want to see the bill become law in order to improve the safety of the national food chain. Others believe the legislation is in need of improvements. Still, others will work to defend language in the House bill that protects their respective industries.

National Farmers Union lobbyists will meet with Senate aides during the August recess to work on some tweaks to make food safety legislation better. NFU believes the 500-dollar annual producer fee to help pay for increased inspections should not be flat but be scaled to production levels or smaller facilities should be exempted outright. And the National Pork Producers Council is planning a September fly-in to show how their industry is already working with regulators.

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