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.)