The Food Safety Enhancement Act (H.R. 2749), a bill currently
being moved through the House of Representatives and gaining attention over
the summer, could give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authority
to regulate the way animals are raised on farms—a prospect that worries many
The bill brings to light the challenges of determining which government
agency should be regulating which process. And generally, farmers are
more comfortable with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) governing
farm production policies.
Many farmers believe that the FDA should regulate food and not necessarily
the living organisms on the farm. One of the biggest concerns among
farmers is the lack of FDA expertise regarding on-farm production, as pointed out by North Carolina Farm Bureau President Larry
Wooten during his testimony at a June 17 congressional hearing on the bill.
The Farm to Consumer News Web site reports that organic supporters are worried about burdensome
and expensive regulations that the “food safety police,” as they call the
FDA, might devise and enforce.
During a food safety hearing last month, however, co-sponsor of the bill,
Rep. Henry Waxman (D) of California suggested that most farmers have nothing to worry about and
the motivation to give the FDA an increased role in governing farm production
stems from “the large number of recent outbreaks that have originated from
food contamination on farms,” which reveals that “more oversight is needed.”
The House is expected to discuss the bill further this week.