Merkley Joins Effort to Help Farmers Improve Food Safety

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley
announced today that he has co-sponsored legislation to increase food safety by
assisting local farmers and processors with new food safety regulations. 
The Growing Safe Food Act will help educate and train farmers and food
processors about the best safety practices to ensure that the nation’s food
supply is safe for citizens.

“Parents shouldn’t have to worry that the lunch they pack
for their kids might make them sick,” Merkley said.  “This is about
getting food safety right up front, not waiting to issue a recall after the
damage has been done.  It’s also important that we provide small farmers
the tools they need to meet new compliance standards and ensure that the food
they bring from the fields to our tables is safe.”

The training program will be administered by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture’s National Integrated Food Safety Initiative and will
educate farmers and food processors in safe handling, packaging and storing
practices, manufacturing, produce safety and sanitation standards, and food
safety audits.   The bill will also help small farmers, processors
and wholesalers implement reforms to comply with the FDA Food Safety
Modernization Act, which is currently pending in the U.S. Senate.

The Growing Safe Food Act was introduced by Senator Debbie
Stabenow (D-MI), and co-sponsored by Senators Bingaman (D- NM), Boxer (D-CA), Gillibrand
(D-NY), Leahy (D-VT) and Sanders (I-VT).