Farm bill’s failure keeps food safety regs on track

Critics warned that the mandate would grind to a halt the largest expansion of federal food oversight since the 1970s. The FSMA was passed with bipartisan support in 2011, but proposed regulations governing practices on farms and food processing facilities were not issued until earlier this year.

The law’s implementation was “difficult enough without stopping it in its tracks,” said Jean Halloran, director of Food Policy Initiatives at Consumers Union. “This is not the time to be suddenly rethinking this whole thing.”

Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports, suggested the economic analyses would have been extensive and time consuming.

The five-year farm bill went down by a tally of 234-195.  The legislation contained $20 million in cuts to the federal food stamp program, and some critics said it contained too much federal support for factory farms.

 “The GOP-led Farm Bill sought to line the pockets of agribusiness while taking money from the programs that are driving local economies, helping family farms and protecting consumers and the environment,” said Colin O’Neil, director of government affairs for Center for Food Safety.  “What is clear is that the American people won’t stand for policies that take us backwards and today the House of Representatives agreed with them.”