OK, there are a few things going on in Congress right now — and true enough, food safety isn’t getting a lot of media attention. Nonetheless, a Senate committee did just unanimously pass a bill that the U.S. House approved this summer. Some Oregonians went to Washington D.C. to testify in favor of that bill, including Peter Hurley of Wilsonville, whose 3-year-old Jacob got sick after eating tainted peanut butter crackers.
Both versions of the bill would give more authority to the Food and Drug Administration. Namely, it would enable it to issue recalls, instead of merely request them from the food producer.
Advocates of the bill say it’s all about food safety — something no one can reasonably say they oppose. But some small Oregon farmers fear that they may not have the time or resources to be able to comply with more requirements from the federal government. As one eastern Oregon farmer told me,
It’s not that we’re against food safety, we just don’t want to be put out of business.
Are you a farmer or food processor in Oregon? How would the new food safety law affect your business? What are your concerns as a food consumer? Are you confident in the safety of the food you and your family eat? If not, what would it take ease your mind?
- Vance Bybee: Administrator of the Food Safety Division at the Oregon Department of Agriculture
- Chris Waldrop: Director of the Food Policy Institute at the Consumer Federation of America
- Mike Iverson: Co-owner and operator of Aurora Farms
- Chrissy Christoferson: Mother of a young child sickened by salmonella