We too should continue to call our senators and voice our opinion in Michigan about the S 510 bill. See state action thus far below.

I forwarded this to you from the forum for sustainable and organic agriculture in Ohio.

Please read and choose based on what you think is best for our farmers and you.
Vicki Morrone
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------ Forwarded Message
From: Karin Bergener <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: "A forum for sustainable and organic agriculture in Ohio." <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 2010 08:51:57 -0500
To: "A forum for sustainable and organic agriculture in Ohio." <[log in to unmask]>
Cc: <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: [oeffadirect] Status of Food Safety Bill (S.510) and the Tester Amendment

People still need to call their Senators in support of the amendment.  You never know what might happen between here and passage.

Karin Bergener
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On Nov 18, 2010, at 8:54 AM, Carol Goland wrote:

    Food Politics
Senate Food Safety Bill Moves Ahead

by Helena        Bottemiller <>  | Nov 18, 2010
The Senate made substantial progress on the pending Food Safety      Bill Wednesday. To move the sweeping food bill forward, the upper      chamber voted 74-25 to limit debate, circumventing Sen. Tom      Coburn's (R-OK) objection <> .       And key stakeholders resolved the two controversial issues that      have plagued the bill: bisphenol A and small farm exemptions.

      Sen. Dianne Feinstein's (D-CA) amendment--which originally aimed      to ban the chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, in all food containers,      but had since been scaled back to only containers meant for      infants and small children--officially kicked the can.

      "Unfortunately, the compromise agreement on a BPA amendment to the      food safety bill has been blocked," announced Feinstein on the      floor of the Senate. Feinstein said she and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY)      had, after months of negotiation, finally reached a compromise      that would have banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy      cups and required the FDA to issue a revised safety assessment on      BPA by Dec. 1, 2012.

      That compromise was shut down by the leading chemical industry      group, according to Feinstein.  "Unfortunately it has become clear      that the American Chemistry Council (ACC) has blocked and      obstructed the agreement from being added to the Food Safety Bill      currently on the floor."

      "I regret that the ACC puts the sale of chemicals above the safety      of infants and children," she added. "The chemical lobby came in      at the 11th hour opposing this ban."

      The ACC has maintained it should be up to the Food and Drug      Administration, not Congress, to rule on BPA safety.

      The Tester-Hagan        Amendment <> , on the other hand, remains a real possibility.      The amendment, introduced by Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) and supported      by Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC), would exempt farms and food producers      that either fit the FDA's definition of "very small business,"      sell most of their products directly to consumers, restaurants, or      retailers within state lines or within 400 miles that have annual      sales of less than half a million dollars.

      Late last night, consumer groups and sustainable agriculture      advocates, who have been at odds over the amendment's language for      months, reached a compromise that could be adopted into the      manager's package. Though the details are not yet public, the      agreement is rumored to reduce the distance threshold and allow      the FDA the ability to withdraw an exemption if a farm or facility      is linked to a foodborne illness outbreak.

      "We are happy with the outline of the final deal on the      Tester-Hagan amendment," Ferd Hoefner policy director of the      National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition told Food Safety        News, adding that specifics of the deal were embargoed.

"It is not exactly what we wanted, but it is something we can      live with and get behind.  We support its inclusion in the      Manager's amendment, and with its inclusion support passage of the      Manager's amendment and final passage.  We congratulate the bill's      sponsors and the amendment's sponsors for their dedication to      reaching an agreement that is good for family farmers, good for      healthy food consumers, and good for food safety."

    Tester, a farmer himself, told reporters yesterday that he will    fight tooth and nail for the provision, believing that small-scale    local producers are not presenting large-scale food risks.

    "What this amendment is simply there to do--it isn't to give anybody    a loophole they can drive a truck through, it's to give them a    loophole they can walk through with a wheelbarrow full of locally    grown farm-processed food," he said.

    For Tester, the measure is as much about food safety as it is about    the direction of American agriculture.

    "If we were to pass this bill without this amendment you're going to    see more concentration in agriculture," he told reporters.  "You're    going to see less choices for the consumer and bigger industrialized    agriculture in the country.  I don't think that's positive, I don't    think it creates jobs, I don't think its good for the economy and I    don't think it's good for our food system."

    It remains unclear whether the major food and agriculture industry    groups, who have recently grown louder in their opposition to any blanket      exemptions <> , will find the deal amenable.

    Yesterday, Robert Guenther, vice president of public policy for the    United Fresh Produce Association-- which signed a letter <http:///>  opposing the Tester    amendment sent to Senate staff Monday--reiterated industry    opposition to exempting sectors based on "geographic location, size    of operation and to whom they sell their food products."

    "The fact remains that when a food safety incident occurs, farmers,    wholesalers, distributors and retailers, regardless of size, suffer    significant economic hardships," said Guenther.  "Most importantly,    the vast majority of businesses who suffer this economic hardship    have nothing to do with any single food safety incident.  In    addition, small and local food operations have been associated with    a number of food safety incidents and recalls over the last decade    and are not immune based on size of operation, distance of geography    or commodity."

    The Senate is set to debate the food safety bill at 9:30 a.m EST    Thursday, likely through late afternoon.

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