According to an Associated Press article in Business Week, important food safety bills passed through the Senate Agriculture Committee yesterday.  California Senator Dean Florez, D-Shafter, introduced and supported the bills, which will require fresh produce growers and processers to follow food safety practices, rather than a marketing agreement that was introduced by the Western Growers Association and is not mandatory.  From the article:

fresh produceThe Senate Agriculture Committee approved three bills that would impose tougher standards on growers of spinach, lettuce, sprouts and similar crops. The state would have more power to respond to outbreaks of food-borne diseases and would establish a process to more quickly trace outbreaks to their source.

The California Farm Bureau Federation and Western Growers Association said the bills are unnecessary because the industry is adopting new safety standards this year.