Rep. Sweetser Fights for Local Inspectors on Our Local Farms

Rep. Sweetser Fights for Local Inspectors on Our Local Farms

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.