Alexander on Senate Passage of the Food Safety Bill

Posted on November 30, 2010

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) released the following statement on his vote today in favor of the Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act (S. 510), also known as the Food Safety bill:

“Americans need to be confident that contaminated food will be found and destroyed – and that the food left on supermarket shelves is safe to eat. This bill would improve our food safety system in a careful way that protects Americans’ right to keep backyard gardens and grow food for their own meals or to sell at farmers’ markets, bake sales, roadside stands, public events, fundraisers, and the like.”

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Frequently Asked Questions about the Food Safety Bill (S. 510)


Question: Will backyard gardens be regulated or affected by the bill?

Answer: No. The bill does not in any way affect backyard gardens. 


Question: Will farmers or individuals who sell food at farmers’ markets or bake sales be regulated and/or affected?

Answer: No. If you grow food for your own consumption or to sell to consumers at farmers markets, bake sales, roadside stands, public events, organizational fundraisers, or through community supported agriculture, you will not be subject to registration or new recordkeeping requirements. The bill contains an explicit exemption for these small facilities or farmers.


Question: Will organic farming be outlawed, criminalized, or overwhelmed with fees and paperwork requirements?

Answer: No. Organic farming will in no way be outlawed. The bill provides flexible regulations that are sensitive to the unique agricultural practices and requirements of organic foods under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. It states that the new produce safety standards cannot “include any requirements that conflict with or duplicate the requirements of the national organic program.”


Question: Is it true that everyone who grows food will now be regulated by the Department of Homeland Security?

Answer: No. Food safety jurisdictions will not change.


Question: Will farms be required to register with the Food and Drug Administration?

Answer: No. The bill would not change the current law, which exempts farms and restaurants from registering with the FDA.


Question: Will seed saving or banking be outlawed or criminalized?

Answer: No. The bill does not create any new rules in regard to the practice of saving seeds for use from year to year, and does not outlaw, criminalize, or require any specific agricultural or growing practice.