| "House, Senate Due to Start Moving Food Safety Bills After Recess," says a headline on CongressNow (in an April 3 article by Stephen Langel). Currently, Congress is on a 2-week recess. Following that, according to the article, the House is expected to begin marking up a bill similar to H.R. 759 - John Dingell's food safety bill - in late April and then bring it to the floor for a vote in May.
The principal players in the House, including Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Chairman Emeritus John Dingell (D-Mich.), ranking member Joe Barton (R-Texas) and Subcommittee on Health Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), want to begin to move the bill once Congress returns in two weeks. However, other committee priorities, such as a push for climate change legislation, may change the schedule.
Their bill is expected to be similar to the current food safety provisions in H.R. 759, the Food and Drug Administration Globalization Act, but with stronger traceability provisions, allowing the agency to better track contaminated foods back to their source, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) said last month.
(Notice how Rep. DeLauro and H.R.875 aren't mentioned? Thus - no need for the hysteria plaguing the internet lately. Also, note that the rumors that have now circulated for over a month stating that DeLauro's bill will pass within two weeks are particularly bogus right now since Congress isn't even in session for the next 2 weeks.)
Apparently the bill that ends up moving will be similar to H.R.759 but it will be a separate bill that is ONLY about food (H.R.759 has some provisions about drug, device, and cosmetics safety too). The Senate bill to watch is S.510, although the article implies that the Senate will move slower than the House.
Just a note here - while Rep. DeLauro's office has been absolutely slammed with calls, enough to make them very seriously consider the repercussions any bill might have on organics and small farms, Representatives Dingell, Waxman, and Stupak have been absolutely ignored.
I think it's noteworthy that Rosa DeLauro was quoted in a recent Cornucopia Institute press release as saying (about H.R.875):
The purpose of this bill is to improve the safety of food products derived from large industrial processing facilities by increasing the inspection frequency and safety standards at these plants.
Organic farmers have a strong record in providing safe, high quality foods to American families and I will continue to work toward making sure that organic farming continues to thrive.
But what about Dingell? Or Waxman? Or Stupak? It's time to start calling their offices if you want to ask that small farms are exempted from any burdensome provisions in the bill that will ultimately pass.