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Mar 12, 2015

Tester to FDA: More needs to be done to improve food safety

Senate’s only working farmer calls for more communication between producers and regulators

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(U.S. SENATE) - The Senate's only working farmer, Jon Tester, today demanded that more needs to be done to empower consumers and make food safety regulations work for small producers.

During a Senate Agriculture Appropriations hearing Tester called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to better identify the ingredients that are in food. With the commitment that the FDA would improve food safety without burdening small producers, Tester voiced his support for the $300 million increase for food safety included in the Administration's budget request.

"Folks deserve to know what ingredients are in their food-which ingredients are good for them and which are going to kill them," Tester told FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg. "I want to support your efforts to keep our food safe, but we need to do it in a way that meets the needs of producers and consumers."

Tester urged the FDA to increase communication between producers and FDA inspectors who regulate local farms to ensure that producers are treated fairly.

"Inspectors need to be trained properly and producers need a plan in place to voice inconsistencies. Folks need to have recourse and hold inspectors accountable," Tester added.

In January, Tester urged the FDA to properly implement his amendment as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to ensure small farming operations are not overburdened by new regulations while still promoting a safer food supply. Tester recently introduced bipartisan legislation requiring the labeling of genetically engineered food and last Congress he successfully repealed a provision, known as the "Monsanto Protection Act," that directed USDA to ignore any judicial ruling that blocked the planting of genetically modified crops.

Overall, the Administration's proposed FDA budget for fiscal year 2016 is a 9 percent increase above 2015 funding levels.

 

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.

Billings

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

Bozeman

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

Butte

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

Helena

Capital One Center
208 N Montana Avenue, Suite 202
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 449-5401
Fax: (406) 449-5462

Kalispell

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

Missoula

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

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