Regional
6:59 pm
Tue November 30, 2010

New Food Safety Bill Will Help Small Organic Farmers

Las Cruces, NM – The senate voted seventy-three to twenty-five for the bill that will strengthen the power of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The law will focus on food-borne illness prevention, detection and response. It will also protect American consumers from unsafe food made overseas by subjecting imported foods to the same standards as food produced in the United States.

The Food Safety Modernization Act will cost around one point million dollars. The House passed its version of the bill back in 2009.

Senator Jeff Bingaman says an amendment was added by Montana Senator Jon Tester shortly before the vote that will exempt small organic farmers.

Bingaman- "He himself has an organic farming operation in Montana and we are going to adopt an amendment by him to essentially exempt out small organic farming operations so they will not be subject to the same regulations that the FDA will apply to larger farming operations. "

According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, the nation's organic farms and ranches have higher average sales and higher average production expenses than U.S farms overall. In 2008 nationwide organic sales totaled $3.16 billion, including $1.94 billion in crops sales and $1.22 billion in sales of livestock, poultry and their products.

The food safety bill will now go to the House for approval.