Senator Chris Murphy and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, both Democrats from Connecticut, this week joined with 12 other members of Congress in calling for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to implement programs to help family farmers and ranchers comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
In letters to FDA Acting Commissioner Dr. Stephen Ostroff, the lawmakers stressed the importance of ensuring that small farms meet the new food safety requirements, and called for the expedited implementation of provisions in the law to assist small farmers, small producers, and fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers in making timely and accurate business decisions for the upcoming year.
The letter notes that “misinformation is already circulating” about the law and it is essential to communicate to farmers “about implementation deadlines, training opportunities, and future technical assistance is critical to timely and accurate compliance.”
National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson agrees. “There is a great deal of confusion surrounding FSMA’s requirements for family farmers and ranchers,” said Johnson. “The FDA needs to ensure U.S. producers are provided with proper technical assistance, training and guidance related to the FSMA regulations. NFU thanks the 14 congressional leaders who urged the FDA to offer necessary support to our nation’s family producers.”
Joining Murphy and DeLauro on the letter were U.S. Sens. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, Angus King, I-Maine, Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, Bernard Sanders, I-Vermont, Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, Chris Coons, D-Delaware, Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, Tom Carper, D-Delaware, Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, and U.S. Reps. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., Sam Farr, D-California, and Chellie Pingree, D-Maine.