This morning the U.S. Senate passed the Food Safety Act, a sweeping overhaul of the nation's food-safety system targeting factory farms that have sent tainted eggs, spinach and peanuts to market. The legislation, which passed by a vote of 73-25, includes an amendment written by Montana Sen. Jon Tester intended to protect small farms from new Food and Drug Administration regulations.
“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," Tester said in a statement. "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.”
Under Tester’s amendment, food producers with less than $500,000 in annual sales 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.
The U.S. House of Representatives, which passed its own version of the bill last year, must now decide whether to pass the Senate's legislation. The chamber may have to if it hopes for a food safety bill to reach President Obama's desk by the end of the session.