Sen. Jon Tester deserves a tip of the hat for introducing two common-sense amendments to S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act. With these amendments, Tester aims to protect the viability of local food producers and businesses. His amendments are needed to fix a well-intentioned bill which, unfortunately, tries to solve real food safety problems with a “one-size-fits-all” approach.
Northern Plains has long promoted the production and consumption of locally grown foods. We have been proud to host the Billings Food Buying Club, helping consumers buy locally produced food directly from the farmers and ranchers who produce that food.
Onerous and expensive regulatory requirements — the type designed for industrial-scale agriculture — could stifle the operation of small farms and businesses that are rejuvenating rural communities. These local farms are one of the best ways consumers have to bypass the products of industrialized factory farms and purchase wholesome, locally grown food for their families.
Food safety is a value we all share, but we will not achieve it if we drive small-scale, local food producers out of business. Foods that you find at farmers’ markets and local food co-ops are grown and processed safely by local farmers and businesses under existing local and state regulations.
Tester’s amendments will help those who grow local food, as well as those who buy it. They will also help keep more of our food dollars right here in Montana.
Northern Plains encourages Sen. Baucus to support Tester’s amendments to protect local food producers.
Ed Gulick, chair