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News for November 17, 2010

Senate Food Safety Bill Chugs Forward

Today, November 17, the Senate voted 74 to 25 to invoke cloture on the Food Safety Modernization Act (S.510), bypassing Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) threatened filibuster to bring the bill to the floor for limited debate.

The wide margin of passage for the cloture motion suggests that the next vote – on the motion to proceed to consideration of the bill – and the one after that – on approving the Manager’s amendment – will likely also pass handily. The timing of those next votes is still unknown, with some observers predicting further debate and possibly votes yet this week and others assuming nothing further will happen until after next week’s Thanksgiving recess.

READ MORE (National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition) ]

Food bill shouldn't hurt small farmers, producers

In September, I visited a farmers market in Asheville, where I talked with North Carolinians who work hard each day to bring local foods — from vegetables to homemade jellies to freshly baked bread — to their loyal customers.

These local food producers all told me they are very concerned about a bill on the Senate floor this week, the Food Safety Modernization Act, which would give the Food and Drug Administration more authority to inspect processing facilities and to conduct food recalls more quickly. Everyone agrees we must overhaul our food safety system, as millions of people have become sick from foodborne illnesses. But unfortunately, this bill threatens the ability of small producers, such as those I met at the French Broad Food Co-op Tailgate Market, to stay in business.

READ MORE (Natural News) ]

Urgent Action Alert on Food Safety Legislation

The Senate is coming back for the lame duck session, and the Food Safety Modernization Act (S.510) is scheduled for a cloture vote this week. We have asked you to take action on this issue several times this year, and now were in the final push. It is critical that you call your Senators NOW to urge them to amend or oppose S.510!

S.510 greatly expands FDAs authority over both processed foods and fresh fruits and vegetables, and would give FDA authority to impose extensive, burdensome requirements on even the smallest processing facilities and farms that sell to local consumers.

READ MORE (Weston A Price Foundation) ]

Local Food Advocates Target Food Safety Bill

A far-reaching food safety bill that could give the government more power to prevent foodborne illnesses has become a target of advocates for buying food produced locally.

They worry the legislation's safety requirements could force small farms out of business.


Will the Tester amendment to S. 510 help small farms and processors, but put more kids at risk? 9

The Senate is expected to vote tomorrow on the Food Safety Modernization Act -- and possibly pass it by this weekend. Yesterday, we posted our Food Fight participants' heated -- and lengthy -- debate over whether S. 510's provisions will harm small farms or producers. They also discussed whether the Tester-Hagen amendment, which creates exemptions for small farms and food processors that meet certain criteria, mitigated this harm sufficiently without diluting the safeguards for consumers.

Other heavyweights are speaking up. Journalists Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser, who have extensively covered the industrial food system and its ills, emailed this message to Sen. Jon Tester's (D-Mont.) office today, Pollan told me: "S. 510 is the most important food safety legislation in a generation. The Tester amendment will make it even more effective, strengthening food safety rules while protecting small farmers and producers. We both think this is the right thing to do."

READ MORE (Grist) ]

Farmer Michael Schmidt on the role of Cow Share Canada in establishing respected raw milk standards

I reviewed with interest the responses to my last post on the Bovine and on several Facebook pages.

Once again it is remarkable how quickly people jump to conclusions with or without in fact knowing all the relevant facts.

READ MORE (The Bovine) ]

Retail Therapy: How One Man Is Using Bodegas to Transform 'Food Deserts'

James Johnson Piett digs retail, specifically food retail. Focusing on things like "operationalizing how consumers move through a store," as he puts it, might seem prohibitively geeky for most. But Piett makes it seem very cool.

I met Piett in Turin, Italy at the Slow Food convention last week. Explaining his work to a roomful of food advocates, he said, "You know in that movie, Pulp Fiction, how there's this character named The Wolf who fixes things? That's who I am. I'm a fixer for grocery stores. I design, build, attract financing, a full suite of services to help them move from point A to point B."

READ MORE (AlterNet) ]

Teen Bake Sale Cut Short

A TV News report on police shutting down kids' cupcake stand, at the behest of a town councilman.





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