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Greg Martin Food Processors Fee & Climate Change Bill
by Greg Martin, click here for bio

Program: Northwest Report
Date: June 15, 2009

Food Processors Fee & Climate Change Bill plus Food Forethought. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Northwest Report.
House Ag Democrats and Republicans Thursday told U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack there will be no climate change bill, or none agriculture can live with, unless the Administration forces changes in the pending measure approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Democrat Leonard Boswell told Vilsack he could not support his party’s climate change bill as written and probably none on the Ag Committee could either.

BOSWELL: We’ve got to have USDA involved in this and we have to have the confidence they will be or I don’t think we’re going to have a bill and I know it’s very important to the administration. Some of us were over there just the other day and I’d like very much for our President to go to Copenhagen with something. But this is not getting there, I don’t think.

Food processors would be charged a yearly fee of 500-dollars and face tighter government scrutiny under a bill passed by a House panel this week. Committee Chairman Henry Waxman said the money will provide the Food and Drug Administration with a much-needed infusion of resources to keep the food supply safe. The legislation would require processors and growers to meet standards aimed at preventing contamination of foods and would increase inspections of processors.

Now with today’s Food Forethought, here’s Lacy Gray.

Help wanted: Large government agency looking for someone, anyone, who can be a team player and make said agency more efficient and accurate when it comes to the details, especially the very minute details that identify salmonella. The FDA is asking Homeland Security, the Pentagon, the Center for Disease Control, and the Department of Agriculture to put their collective “heads” together in order to come up with a better method of testing, one that will shorten the time it takes to accurately identify an outbreak of salmonella. The FDA has been on the hot seat after the last two outbreaks that involved peanut butter and a false accusation of tomatoes, but the latest comment by a congressman comparing the agency’s disease detectives to the Keystone Kops was obviously the push they needed to admit they needed help. The assistant commissioner for food safety says “they’re not looking for a ‘Star Trek’ gizmo, just something that can save 12 hours here, 12 hours there.” I don’t know, but right about now, even help from Mr. Spock and Dr. McCoy would seem to be a vast improvement.

Thanks Lacy. That’s today’s Northwest Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Northwest Ag Information Network.

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