Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) has introduced (S. 2758), the Growing Safe Food Act. The purpose of the proposed bill is "to help educate and train farmers and food processors in food safety."

The legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Bingaman, Boxer, Gillibrand, Leahy Merkley and Sanders, reports Food Safety News. It has surfaced as the Food and Drug Administration's Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510), a bill that would greatly increase FDA's resources and authority, remains stalled in the Senate behind health-care reform.

Stabenow believes her proposal will help "small and mid-sized farmers, food processors and wholesalers" comply with the pending food-safety overhaul, which is expected to pass once the Senate's schedule opens up more.

"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."

USDA's National Integrated Food Safety Initiative would administer the proposed training program. State agriculture departments, Extension services, agricultural trade associations and universities would be eligible to apply for grant support to promote training programs. 

"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," according to a statement released by Stabenow's office.

The proposed bill also stipulates that existing conservation, biodiversity, and organic farming standards would have to be considered in the development of training programs receiving funds.

Source: Food Safety News