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(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Representatives Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) and Annie Kuster (D-NH) welcomed officials from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to Hanover this morning where the agency held a public forum to hear concerns directly from New England farmers about proposed Food Safety Modernization Act rules. In May, the delegation led a bipartisan, bicameral group of 20 Senators and Representatives that invited the FDA to New England to hear from regional farmers. 

“We appreciate the FDA’s willingness to come to New Hampshire and hear directly from our farmers who are rightfully concerned about these potentially burdensome new rules,” said Shaheen, Ayotte, Shea-Porter and Kuster. “Our farmers are vital contributors to our state’s economy and they deserve protection from excessive and harmful regulations. We hope the FDA will use the feedback from today’s forum to improve these rules and address the concerns raised by our farmers and agricultural community.”

Earlier this month, the delegation joined another bipartisan effort to seek additional clarifications from the FDA on the new rules.  In an August 13 letter to the FDA, the delegation specifically questioned the FDA regarding oversight, compliance and agricultural water testing. The letter also discussed concerns about the impact these regulations could have on small farmers and the potential costs of the new rules.

Farmers or affected parties wishing to comment on the proposed rules are encouraged to visit the FDA website to formally submit a comment. The deadline for comments is November 15, 2013.