CONGRESSMAN BISHOP HERALDS WIN FOR PECAN, TREE NUT INDUSTRIES
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture and Co-Chairman of the Congressional Peanut Caucus heralded the passage of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Agriculture Appropriations government spending bill out of the full committee, claiming a win for the pecan and other tree nut industries. As passed, the bill ensures that no unnecessary requirements or harmful regulations will be placed on the industries, allowing growers, shellers, and harvesters to continue business as usual:
“We are pleased that the U.S. House Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee accepted Congressman Sanford Bishop’s language encouraging FDA to remove tree nuts from the Food Safety Modernization Act provisions,” said Hilton Segler, Executive Director of National Pecan Growers Council. “While a lot of our crops come from other countries, pecans are native to the United States and should be considered a national treasure. It is also important to note that pecans are safe and have no history of food safety issues.”
“Recent proposed FDA regulations could have prohibited the harvesting and marketing of pecans where livestock or animals, like deer or squirrels, have lived,” said Dr. Randy Hudson, Vice-President of the National Pecan Growers Council and Past-President of the Georgia Pecan Growers Association. “The Georgia and US Pecan Industries are very thankful for the efforts that Congressman Sanford Bishop has made to insure that the farmers and homeowners with pecan trees can continue to market their pecans.”
“We appreciate Congressman Sanford Bishop’s leadership role and his efforts to remove tree nuts from the Food Safety Modernization Act provisions,” said Brad Ellis, President of the Georgia Pecans Growers Association. “We are pleased that the U.S. House Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee has accepted Congressman Bishop’s recommendation to encourage the FDA in this matter. Georgia Pecan Growers thank Congressman Bishop for his leadership on the subcommittee and knowledge of our industry.”
Concluded Congressman Bishop, “Considering how important pecans and other tree nuts are to the economy of Georgia and America’s agriculture industry, I would be nutty not to support this effort any way I can!”
Georgia is the largest pecan producing state, accounting for approximately one third of all pecans produced in the United States. Additionally, the United States produces more than 80% of the world’s pecans, with large Georgia exports going to China and India. With Georgia supplying 65% of United States’ pecan exports, support for this market assists the flow of millions of dollars in revenue for Georgia and the entire United States pecan industry.
The full text of the provision can be found below:
Regulation of Tree Nuts – The Committee urges FDA to consider the exemption of tree nut producers from regulation under section 419 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act if such tree nuts meet the criteria for “rarely consumed raw” and the recipient of the produce performs commercial processing that adequately reduces pathogens as described in the proposed regulation “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption; Proposed Rule”.