June 12, 2009
The American Sheep Industry Association joined other livestock and poultry groups to review and prioritize concerns with the food safety legislation that is being considered. The signators thanked Reps. Collin Peterson (Minn.) and Frank Lucas (Okla.), chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, for their dedication and commitment to U.S. producers and to rural communities. At the same time, the organizations encouraged the congressmen to take a look at some of the provisions in the "Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009" (H.R. 2749) that are troubling to America's agricultural groups.
For decades, America's livestock, dairy and poultry producers have been dedicated to maintaining and enhancing the quality and safety of U.S. meat, dairy, poultry and egg products. Producers have an obligation to provide safe, nutritious products for domestic and international consumers, and that obligation is shared by federal regulatory agencies.
However, the food safety legislation being considered contains some troubling provisions for America's livestock, dairy and poultry producers. These concerns include:
- additional authorities for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct on-farm inspections;
- the ability for FDA to create a traceability system that details the complete pedigree for all foods; and
- giving FDA authority to create farm safety standards, including manure use and animal control, which are already handled by U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior.
The bill was passed by voice vote on Wednesday by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health and goes to the full committee for markup next week.