U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) this week introduced legislation that would, according to a release from her office, help farmers, processors and wholesalers implement food-safety processes.

The proposed legislation, S. 2758, the Growing Safe Food Act, would help farmers and food processors ensure the safety of our nation’s food supply, according to Stabenow’s office.  The bill was introduced with six co-sponsors: Sens. Bingaman, Boxer, Gillibrand, Leahy, Merkley, and Sanders.

The Senate is currently considering food safety reform proposals that would increase FDA food inspections and improve our food safety system. This bill will provide small and medium sized farmers, food processors, and wholesalers technical assistance and education to effectively implement these new reforms. 

“With all the recent scares over contaminated food, this legislation will help restore consumer trust in the safety of our food supply,” said Stabenow.  “Providing training to farmers and processors on things like handling practices and safe packaging will go a long way toward restoring this confidence. Michigan agriculture generates billions in economic activity and employs over one million people. This bill will help protect Michigan jobs by providing resources and support to our farmers and businesses.”

The training will be administered through the USDA National Integrated Food Safety Initiative. Those eligible to apply for competitive grants under the bill include state Departments of Agriculture, extension services, agricultural trade associations, and universities. Training can be in the areas of handling practices, manufacturing, produce safety standards, risk analysis, sanitation standards, safe packaging, storage, traceability, record-keeping, and food safety audits. Under this legislation, existing standards for conservation, biodiversity and organic farming must be taken into account in developing the training program.

Stabenow is also the sponsor of S. 1101, the National Food Protection Training Institute Act of 2009 which will provide training for local and state food safety inspectors and benefit the Food Protection Training Institute in Battle Creek, Mich.

Source: Drovers (sister publication to Dairy Herd Management)