EINNEWS, November 16—Interest groups are putting increasing heat on U.S. Senators to pass a pending food safety bill before it adjourns in December. The measure already has passed the House.

One of the more contentious issues facing the Senate will come in the form of an amendment by Montana Sen. John Tester who is proposing to exempt small producers from the bill’s provisions.

Monday, a coalition of industry groups sent a joint letter to Senators opposing that amendment on the grounds that an operation’s “size, the growing practices used, or its proximity to customers does not determine whether the food offered is safe. What matters is that the operation implements prudent product safety practices, whether the product is purchased at a roadside stand, a farmers’ market, or a large supermarket,”

Among the 30 industry groups signing the letter were the American Meat Institute, the United Fresh Produce Association and the United Egg Producers.

Many groups representing smaller agricultural operations have argued that the food safety rules in the bill are too cumbersome and expensive for small farms and processors. By lumping small outfits in with the requirements of large ones, they argue, they will force many small farms and processors out of business, undermining trends toward local and sustainable farming.

For more food safety news, visit Food Safety News Today (http://foodsafety.einnews.com), a food safety media monitoring service from EIN News.