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AMI Urges Senate to Reject Exemption Amendment to Food Safety Legislation

Monday, November 15, 2010

(American Meat Institute)


The American Meat Institute (AMI) today joined a diverse coalition of 30 food industry associations in signing a letter to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee urging the Senate as it considers the “Food Safety Modernization Act” to reject the notion of providing blanket food safety exemptions for segments of the food industry based solely upon size, location or type of operation.

The letter was sent as the Senate considers amendments to S. 510, the “Food Safety Modernization Act.” In particular, an amendment offered by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) targets exemptions based on the type of marketing operation and the size of farms. 

“We believe an operation’s size, the growing practices used, or its proximity to customers does not determine whether the food offered is safe,” states the letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the HELP Committee. “What matters is that the operation implements prudent product safety practices, whether the product is purchased at a roadside stand, a farmers’ market or a large supermarket.”

The letter points out that a vast majority of the organizations singing the letter represent small businesses, whether they are growers, producers, shippers, distributors, processors, packers or food wholesalers. 

“For the public to have confidence in the food safety system, Congress and federal regulators must bring all segments of the food production and processing system into compliance with national safety standards. We believe technical assistance, training, extended transition timeframes for compliance and financial support are more appropriate ways to assist small businesses throughout the food distribution chain to comply with important food safety standards. We urge the Senate to incorporate these types of provisions into the final bill rather than provide blanket exemptions,” the letter adds.

To view the letter in its entirety, click here:  http://bit.ly/dwraCB

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