November 10, 2009

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. introduced S. 2758, the Growing Safe Food Act, to help farmers and food processors ensure the safety of our nation’s food supply.  The bill was introduced with six co-sponsors: Sens. Bingaman, Boxer, Gillibrand, Leahy, Merkley, and Sanders.

The Senate is currently considering food safety reform proposals that would increase FDA food inspections and improve our food safety system. This bill will provide small and medium sized farmers, food processors, and wholesalers technical assistance and education to effectively implement these new reforms. 

“With all the recent scares over contaminated food, this legislation will help restore consumer trust in the safety of our food supply,” said Stabenow.  “Providing training to farmers and processors on things like handling practices and safe packaging will go a long way toward restoring this confidence.”

The training will be administered through the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Integrated Food Safety Initiative. Those eligible to apply for competitive grants under the bill include state Departments of Agriculture, extension services, agricultural trade associations, and universities.  Training can be in the areas of handling practices, manufacturing, produce safety standards, risk analysis, sanitation standards, safe packaging, storage, traceability, record-keeping, and food safety audits. Under this legislation, existing standards for conservation, biodiversity and organic farming must be taken into account in developing the training program.