Bipartisan negotiations have addressed numerous concerns about the Food Safety Enhancement Act raised by Farm Bureau and other agriculture groups since the discussion draft was introduced late last month. However, unresolved issues that could increase cost and paperwork burdens on farmers remain. Farm Bureau continues working with the committee to address these issues before the bill is considered by the full House after the Independence Day recess. As currently written, H.R. 2749 would:
- greatly expand FDA authority to quarantine geographic areas for food safety problems;
- require FDA to create a food traceability system which could include farms (except direct sales and farmers markets);
- require additional recordkeeping, including new requirements for farms;
- increase FDA’s access to records without sufficient guarantee of confidentiality; and
- expand FDA’s on-farm authorities to cover production practices of raw agricultural commodities.
Livestock operations and the livestock portion of diversified operations are generally exempted from the bill. Farm Bureau is seeking to expand that exemption to other agricultural producers.