Food Safety Discussion Heats up in House Ag Committee

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7/20/2009 Editors

Last Thursday, the House Agriculture Committee held a hearing to review current issues in food safety. This is the fourth hearing on food safety held by the House Agriculture Committee and its Subcommittees this year.

Witnesses at the latest hearing included farmers, ranchers, consumer group representatives, and government officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In addition to the witnesses testifying, Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson recognized Jeff Almer from Perham, Minn. to speak about his mother who was a victim of the Salmonella outbreak caused by peanut butter in 2008.

“Ensuring a safe food supply is a top priority for the House Agriculture Committee, and we want to play a role in developing strong food safety policies that are practical and address the problems in the system,” Chairman Peterson said.

"None of the producer witnesses at the hearing today would support the Food Safety Enhancement Act as it is written," said Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA-6). "It is clear that members of the committee and our witnesses are concerned about the new authority the bill gives FDA to regulate on the farm production practices. The notion that FDA can dictate to farmers in every region of the country, growing and producing a vast array of crops and livestock for a range of markets, is irrational. I will continue to work with my colleagues to improve this food safety legislation."

Written testimony provided by the witnesses is available on the Committee Web site: A full transcript of the hearing will be posted on the Committee website at a later date.

Witness List (Click on the name to read a written testimony)

Panel I

·         Mr. Larry Wooten, President, North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation, on behalf of American Farm Bureau Federation, Raleigh, North Carolina

·         Mr. J. Patrick Boyle, President, American Meat Institute, Washington, D.C.

·         Ms. Carol Tucker-Foreman, Distinguished Fellow, The Food Policy Institute, Consumer Federation of America, Washington, D.C.

·         Sam Ives, DVM, Ph.D., Director of Veterinary Services and Associate Director of Research, Cactus Feeders, Ltd., on behalf of National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Amarillo, Texas

·         Mr. Kent Peppler, President, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, on behalf of National Farmers Union, Mead, Colorado

·         Mr. Bob Reinhard, Director of Food Safety for Sara Lee, and Chairman, Technical and Regulatory Committee, of the National Turkey Federation, Downers Grove, Illinois

·         Mr. Nicholas Maravell, Owner and Operator, Nick’s Organic Farm, LLC, Potomac, Maryland

·         Mr. Drew McDonald, Vice President National Quality Systems, Taylor Farms, Inc.

Panel II

·         Mr. Jerold Mande, Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.

·         Ms. Cindy Smith, Acting Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. (no opening statement)

·         Mr. Mike Taylor, Senior Advisor to the Commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, Maryland




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