Congress looks at how salmonella scare impacted farmers, small business - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Congress looks at how salmonella scare impacted farmers, small business

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Congressional panels Wednesday looked at how to fix the nation's ailing food safety system and how peanut farmers and small businesses were hurt by the nationwide salmonella outbreak.

Georgia Peanut Commission Executive Director Don Koehler of Tifton spoke before the House Small Business Committee. He said farmers are cutting their acreage by a third because they're not being offered contracts as a result slumping sales. In Lee County, the extension agent says it could cause some farmer not to plant peanuts at all.

"All commodity prices are down a little bit this year, especially peanuts. We've got stocks coming in from last year and then the salmonella scare didn't help anything. Some farmers are talking about not growing any peanuts at all this year," said Doug Collins, Lee County UGA Extension Agent.

The Energy and Commerce subcommittee also held a hearing Wednesday listening to testimony from the FDA on how to fix the food safety system.

The salmonella outbreak at plants operated by Peanut Corporation of America prompted one of the largest recalls in history. More than 680 people were sickened and at least nine deaths may have been connected to the outbreak.

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