NASDA puts food safety on the agenda as work begins on  Farm Bill 2023

NASDA puts food safety on the agenda as work begins on Farm Bill 2023

by Sue Jones
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Food safety is one of 10 specific policy areas that the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture wants to be addressed in the next federal Farm Bill, which must be finished by 2023. At its Winter Policy Conference, NASDA named these focus areas for Farm Bill 2023, in alphabetical order:

  • Agriculture research
  • Animal disease
  • Conservation and climate resiliency
  • Cyber security
  • Food safety
  • Hemp
  • Invasive species
  • Local food systems
  • Specialty Crop Block Grants
  • Trade promotion

NASDA CEO Ted McKinney remarked on the importance of the Farm Bill and NASDA members’ ability to provide a unique perspective. “The next Farm Bill must remain unified, securing a commitment to American agriculture and the critical food and nutritional assistance programs for those who need it most, ” McKinney said.

“Often the officials closest to farmers themselves and as co-regulators with the federal government, NASDA members are uniquely positioned to lead impact and direct policymaking solutions for the 2023 Farm Bill.”

Farm Bill 2023 should include additional funding for the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) programs, according to NASDA. Additional funding should be provided to:

• The FSMA Produce Safety Rule implementation and the State Cooperative Agreement Program;

• Animal Food Preventive Controls Rule implementation and the State Cooperative Agreement;

• Food Safety Outreach Program; and

• Produce Safety Alliance.

NASDA also recommends the FDA implement the following as it works toward using technology to assist traceability of foods:

• Create consistent data collection metrics that can be implemented from farms to store shelves.

• Work across government agencies (federal and state) to understand how to effectively collect data.

• Use digital technologies to expedite outbreak-related communications.

• Communicate more frequently with stakeholders.

• Create a central database for all food safety inspection data.

According to NASDA, 46 states and one territory currently have entered into cooperative agreements with the FDA to educate and/or regulate farms subject to the rule based on a framework NASDA developed through its agreement with FDA. A joint NASDA-FDA Implementation Group adds appendices to help guide states in program best practices. A similar framework for animal food safety is available.

The 2018 Farm Bill, U.S. Public Law 115-334, expires at the end of 2023.

NASDA is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association that represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries, and directors of the departments of agriculture in all fifty states and four U.S. territories.

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