Safety Oversight Hearing at House Appropriations Agriculture
Last week, the House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Agriculture held a hearing on Food Safety Oversight. Daniel Levinson, Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services, testified that "recent outbreaks of foodborne illness involving peanut butter, peppers, and spinach have raised serious questions about the Food & Drug Administration's ability to protect the Nation's Food Supply." He emphasized traceability of all products at all stages of the food supply chain as an imperative goal.
This happened in the wake of several food safety bills introduced in Congress -- and led to a great deal of chatter on blogs and listserves reacting to potential impacts on small producers. There is concern that additional costs to track food from source to plate could be too great a burden on small producers. NCRLC will continue to follow this issue as a member of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, which has formed an emergency task force to analyze food safety bills. The intent is to get beyond the hype and develop policy from the vantage point of small farms and organic operations.
For now, our readers may be interested in the March 20 edition of "The Hill" (a Capitol Hill news source read by staffers and legislators) which contains a five-page special section on Agriculture and Food Safety.