SANTA FE ― March 14, the House of Representatives unanimously concurred with the Senate on House Bill 305. HB 305 Sponsored by Rep. Candie Sweetser (D-Deming), a strong advocate for agriculture, 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.
This increase in certified inspectors not only allows agribusinesses to grow, but it increases opportunities for them to expand into value-added enterprises that require additional inspectors.
“I am thrilled that both chambers have widely supported this initiative to support our local inspectors, family farmers and ranchers and agribusinesses,” Rep. Sweetser said. “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.”
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 establishes the NMDA as an authority to protect the food safety interests of New Mexico.
House Bill 305 will now be placed on the Governor’s desk awaiting her signature.