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Nov 30, 2010   |  Senator Jon Tester

Senate overwhelmingly passes Food Safety Bill with Tester’s amendment

Senator: Now time to move legislation ‘across the finish line’

(U.S. SENATE) –U.S. Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement after the Senate overwhelmingly approved the Food Safety Modernization Act.  The legislation includes Tester’s amendment to protect family farmers and food producers from new federal regulations they can’t afford and don’t need.

“Today’s vote is a huge victory for all family farmers, growers and food processors, but more importantly, it’s a win for anyone who consumes food.  This bill as amended strengthens our food safety while protecting the jobs and livelihoods of folks who put good food on our tables.  Now it’s time to get this bill across the finish line and get it signed into law.”

The Food Safety Modernization Act passed with a vote of 73 to 25.

Under Tester’s amendment, food producers would not be subject to new federal requirements if they:

  • Sell the majority of their food directly to consumers within the state, or within a 275-mile radius of where it was produced, and
  • Have less than $500,000 per year in sales.

Those producers would, however, continue to be overseen by local and state food safety and health agencies.

Although Tester is himself a family-scale grain farmer, Tester’s own farm does not qualify under the amendment because he does not sell directly to consumers.

The U.S. House of Representatives must now pass the Senate legislation before it is signed into law by the President.

  • Tester’s Food Safety Bill resource page is now available online at:
  • A summary of Tester’s revised amendment is online HERE
  • The latest version of Tester’s amendment is online HERE
  • A YouTube video of Tester’s Senate floor speech earlier this month is online HERE

Why the Tester Amendment?

“[Family-scale producers] are small. There’s a pride of ownership there that is real.  They raise food; they don’t raise a commodity as happens when these operations get bigger and bigger. And there is a direct customer relationship with that customer or that farmer that means a lot.  And if a mistake is made, which rarely happens, it doesn’t impact hundreds of thousands of people.  We know exactly where the problem was.  And we know exactly how to fix it.” –Senator Jon Tester

“Jon understands that a one-size-fits-all, cookie cutter approach to food safety just won’t work.  We appreciate his work to boost food safety in a common sense way that will keep small family farms and ranches in business for future generations.”
Paul Hubbard, Community Food and Agriculture Coalition (Missoula, Mont.)

Office Contact Information

Senator Tester's Montana staff serves the state from offices in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula. Please bring your concerns with federal agencies, academy nominations, and other situations to one of these Montana offices.


Judge Jameson Federal Building
2900 4th Ave N, Suite 201
Billings, MT 59101
Phone: (406) 252-0550
Fax: (406) 252-7768


Avant Courier Building
1 E Main Street, Suite 202
Bozeman, MT 59715
Phone: (406) 586-4450
Fax: (406) 586-7647


Silver Bow Center
125 W Granite, Suite 200
Butte, MT 59701
Phone: (406) 723-3277
Fax: (406) 782-4717

Great Falls

119 1st Avenue N, Suite 102
Great Falls, MT 59401
Phone: (406) 452-9585
Fax: (406) 452-9586


208 North Montana Avenue
Suite 104
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462


8 Third Street E
Kalispell, MT 59901
Phone: (406) 257-3360
Fax: (406) 257-3974


130 W Front St.
Missoula, MT 59802
Phone: (406) 728-3003
Fax: (406) 728-2193

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