Large Food Producers Unite to Oppose Food Safety Bill Changes

Chad Outler | November 23, 2010

Nov. 23, 2010 - Battle lines are being drawn and re-drawn in the fight over one of the most controversial bills under consideration during Congress’ 2010 lame duck session. S. 510, The Food Safety Modernization Act is a response to recent incidents of widespread food contamination, such as the 2006 outbreak of E. coli in spinach described in an article by PBS online and the more recent outbreak of salmonella in eggs last summer, after the law was introduced.

The bill is designed to strengthen the power of the Food and Drug Administration to inspect food and to institute recalls in the event of outbreaks of food-borne illness.

Conservatives objected to the bill's increased industry regulation while liberals and small farm groups argued that farmers markets and the local food movement wouldn't be able to cope with the new standards. An amendment proposed by Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) was designed to lift the burden on the smaller producers, but was rejected by many of the larger producers. The Tester amendment has since been modified in order to overcome a Senate filibuster, and the compromise agreement will be included in the manager's amendment agreed to by Democrats and Republicans.

On Nov. 15, 2010, the organizations below signed a letter sent to Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Mike Enzi (R-Wy.), the ranking members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee, stating their opposition to the Tester Amendment. The list below includes the organizations mentioned in the letter that contributed to lawmakers serving in the 111th Congress.

Click here to download a contributions by lawmaker spreadsheet compiled by


Total Contributions to Current Senators 
International Dairy Foods Association$282,932
American Meat Institute$177,449
National Chicken Council$166,858
National Pork Producers Council$151,504
National Council of Farmer Cooperatives$125,621
National Turkey Federation$90,500
National Milk Producers Federation$85,400
United Fresh Produce Association$56,900
National Potato Council$56,000
Western Growers Association$46,800
American Frozen Food Institute$44,900
National Grain and Feed Association$39,000
National Meat Association$27,366
California Grape and Tree Fruit League$18,050
U.S. Apple Association$17,550
American Feed Industry Association$8,250
National Watermelon Association$5,700
Texas Produce Association$5,500
Corn Refiners Association$3,750
Produce Marketing Association$3,000
Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association       $1,000
Florida Tomato Exchange$500
National Oilseed Processors Association$250
United Egg Producers$250
GRAND TOTAL$1,415,030

Figures are based on monetary and non-monetary contributions to candidate campaign committees of legislators serving in the 111th Congresses for election cycles 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010. Date range includes contributions from Jan 1, 2001 - Oct. 13, 2010. Contributions data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics.