An amendment, called Section 123, was quietly added to Title I of the 2007 Farm Bill a few weeks ago, and it is a huge step backwards on food safety. If passed, it would hamstring state and local food safety efforts by wiping out critical authority on meat, poultry and biotechnology.
The sweeping language of Section 123 would prevent states from prohibiting the sale of USDA-inspected products. This provision could prevent local health inspectors at a supermarket from condemning contaminated meat or spoiled poultry! Since 90% of food inspections are done at the state and local level, the impact could be severe.
Section 123 also prohibits states from passing laws that protect animal welfare, such as laws on horse slaughter and sale of horsemeat.
Finally, Section 123 prohibits state and local laws on biotechnology -- such as laws to review whether or not to grow genetically-engineered rice in a state.
After recent problems with Melamine in pet and livestock feed, Listeria in chicken, and E. coli in spinach and ground beef, we should be strengthening our food safety system, not weakening it! Tell your Representative to stand up for food safety and oppose Section 123 in the Farm Bill.