This week Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) introduced The Safe American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, which would direct USDA to preemptively negotiate regionalization agreements for known animal disease threats with U.S. trading partners. 

The bill, which was introduced with original cosponsors Sens. Tina Smith (D-MN), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Chris Coons (D-DE), aims to provide clear authority to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) to ultimately protect unsafe agriculture exports from getting shipped around the globe.

“During the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak last year, our Hoosier poultry producers relied on trade regionalization agreements to ensure that their safe food products made it to market,” Sen. Braun said of the bill. “Spending most of my life around the farm, I know just how devastating animal disease outbreaks can be. The SAFE Act will help farmers focus on animal health, rather than finding a market for their safe food products, by giving USDA the authority to negotiate proactive trade agreements.”

“Regionalization is an important tool for protecting agriculture exports when outbreaks occur,” Sen. Coons said, focusing on the broiler chicken industry, “and the broiler industry in Delaware has benefitted from these agreements since the last highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) outbreak in 2016.  There is still more work to do, and I support efforts to improve the enforcement of existing regionalization agreements between the U.S. government and its trading partners.” 

The National Chicken Council has endorsed the bill.

The full bill text can be found here and Sen. Braun’s press release including further information can be found here.