Clear Lake, IA – Food Democracy Now!, a national sustainable agriculture advocacy organization, is thanking their members for making 12,000 phone calls to the U.S. Senate in helping pass the Food Safety Modernization Act (S.510) with the inclusion of the Tester-Hagan and Manager’s amendments.
The bill passed early Tuesday morning by a vote of 73 to 25, garnering broad bipartism support for a piece of legislation that has been called “the best opportunity in a generation to improve the safety of the American food supply” by food experts and authors Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser, who wrote a compelling defense of the controversial bill in a New York Times editorial that appeared the day of the expect vote in the Senate.
“The passage of the food safety bill, which grants the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandatory recall authority and includes provisions that protect family farmers engaged in direct sales of local foods is an historic victory for family farmers and the local food movement, said Dave Murphy, founder and executive director of Food Democracy Now!. “In overcoming the backlash of agricultural giants who desperately fought to kill these protections for family farmers, the sustainable agricultural movement has shown that it is a political force to be reckoned with.”
“The bill is far from perfect, but the inclusion of these protections guarantees that farmers that sell directly to consumers, farmers markets, grocery stores and restaurants with sales under $500,000 and sell in state or within 275 miles of their farm or facility are exempted from expensive regulations that could drive them out of business,” continued Murphy.
The key now is to get the House to reconcile the Senate version and get the bill on President Obama’s desk as soon as possible. Food Democracy Now! will continue to watch for how the FDA and other federal agencies implement the new food safety rules so as not to harm family farmers that make up the backbone of the growing local food movement, the most vibrant sector in the agricultural economy.