HB 305 Authorizes NM Department of Agriculture to Perform FDA Inspections
Santa Fe, NM – Rep. Candie Sweetser (D-Deming), a strong advocate for agriculture, is sponsoring legislation that would ensure that our local farms are inspected by local inspectors from the New Mexico department of agriculture (NMDA), rather than federal inspectors from the FDA.
“Our local inspectors know our farms, they know our families, and they are more familiar with what farmers in New Mexico deal with,” said Rep. Sweetser. “It just makes sense that on-site inspections would be performed by our local department rather than by inspectors who will have a steep learning curve on the issues that face our family farmers in rural New Mexico.”
Rep. Sweetser and her family farm and ranch in Luna, Hidalgo, and Grant counties, so she knows first-hand the demands being put on the agricultural industry.
HB 305 adds a subsection to the powers and authority of the New Mexico State University (NMSU) Board of Regents granting them the ability to authorize the NMDA to enter onto public or private property to collect samples and to review records to verify compliance with the federal FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The FMSA was enacted in 2011 to ensure the food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it. If federal food safety laws were to be deregulated, HB 305 established NMDA as an authority to protect the food safety interests of New Mexico.
This morning with a bipartisan unanimous HB 305 passed the House Agriculture and Water Resources Committee this morning and heads next to the House Business and Industry Committee.
"The 2017 Legislature kicked off at the Roundhouse Tuesday, and the first order of business was Gov. Susana Martinez’s state of the state address to the legislature. That speech featured many proposals the Republican governor has advocated for years – reinstating the death penalty, avoiding tax increases, holding back third graders who can’t read and increased penalties for ..."
...Over in the House, Democratic Rep. Candie Sweetser won an open seat in Deming and will serve as vice chairwoman of the agriculture committee. Listen to Rep. Sweetser.
“It has been a little overwhelming, I will be completely honest, but also really exciting.
“I heard a lot of support for bipartisanship in the state of the state. I hope it holds through the session. I certainly feel like our Democratic caucus is looking forward to forgetting about partisan politics and getting things done for the state of New Mexico. I think a lot of that gets said on the first day and some of that falls apart as the session progresses, and this year I hope that is not the case.
“I decided to run because I felt we needed a strong ag (agriculture) voice in the majority, so that is my hope. I have a farm and ranch background and that’s who I’m here to represent. But honestly the overriding thing is the budget, and we have got to figure the budget out. And I don’t think we can cut ourselves into prosperity, but I do know that there’s not a strong appetite for new taxes.”