Jun 8, 2010
06:18 PMThe Wind Machine
● U.S. Senate consideration of food safety reform legislation, S. 510, is still pending. One reason for this delay is a proposed amendment by Senator Diane Feinstein of California that would ban a chemical (bisphenol) from use in consumer packaging. This controversial amendment is strongly opposed by the Grocery Manufacturers Association and others concerned with Congress overriding the regulatory process on such a technical issue and given the disputed science relied on by those seeking the ban. Another reason for the postponement of legislative debate is today’s primary in Nevada that has absorbed a good deal of the time and attention of a weakened majority leader, Harry Reid.
● The initials BPA, while known to most in the Pacific Northwest as standing for the Bonneville Power Administration, are also those by which the chemical bisphenol is commonly known. Widely used in plastics and other consumer products, BPA touches upon our tree fruit industry primarily by way of cans, such as those designed to hold processed pears. A national campaign is being robustly waged by certain environmental groups (such as the NRDC) under the banner of Safer Chemicals/Healthy Families to ban BPA and amend the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976.
● Among today’s primaries, the one most closely watched by national agricultural leaders is the U.S. Senate race in Arkansas. Democrat incumbent Blanche Lincoln is facing a strong primary challenge: if she goes down to defeat, the chairmanship of the Senate Agriculture Committee will move to other hands and foes of the union-backed “card check” will lose her vote. (Senator Lincoln being against unions on their prime legislative goal, one aimed at making it much easier to organize workers.)