Bill Pairs Food and National Security

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Food agencies may have a bigger role in the decision to allowing foreign investment in U.S. firms.

A bipartisan Senate bill put forward by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley and Top Senate Ag Committee Democrat Debbie Stabenow called the Food Security is National Security Act allows the secretaries of the USDA and Health and Human Services, which oversees the Food and Drug Administration, permanent seats on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. It also directs the panel to consider agriculture when approving foreign investment.

Grassley says food production is very much connected with the national security of the U.S., "So we want these agencies to be a permanent member of that commission on national security within the department treasury so that that point of view is always considered, when they consider whether a merger is detrimental to the national security of the United States."

Grassley says there's too much focus today on the state of the U.S. food industry and not enough on the long-range future of the food supply. Adding mergers and buyouts have transferred critical biotechnology to foreign entities, giving them unfair advantages.

The Food Security is National Security Act is backed by both the American Farm Bureau and the National Farmers Union.