National Bison Association tackles food safety legislative proposals
As Congress settles back in to continue discussion over proposals to improve the nation's food safety system, the National Bison Association is mounting a concerted effort to make sure that any new regulations do not discriminate against bison producers, or against the nation's small meat processors.
Shortly before adjourning in late July, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sweeping new powers to regulate the nation's food producers and processors. The Senate is scheduled to take up a separate version of the legislation later this fall.
Shortly before final passage, members of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee inserted language into the legislation to exempt meat, poultry and egg producers who are already subject to food safety inspections from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service. The wording in that "USDA Exemption," however, does not include bison.
In addition, the House proposal would mandate that food processing facilities pay an annual registration fee, but does not distinguish between the fees paid by small and large processing facilities.
During the August recess, the National Bison Association hosted a tour of a modern bison processing facility for U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-CO, a ranking member of the committee that drafted the proposal that passed the House of Representatives. During the tour, Rep. DeGette discussed the food safety practices utilized within the facility with officials of Rocky Mountain Natural Meats.
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