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Walden encouraged by talks on onions, water rules

Reps. Greg Walden of Oregon and Doc Hastings of Washington state met Wednesday with a Food and Drug Administration official about the new food safety rules that are under development and their impact on onion growers.

ONTARIO, Ore. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon says he’s encouraged by talks with federal officials over a proposed water quality standard that farmers growing onions under irrigation say they can’t meet.

The Ontario Argus Observer reports that rules proposed by the Food and Drug Administration are aimed at E. coli contamination and result from the Food Safety Modernization Act approved by Congress.

More than 1 billion pounds of onions are shipped from Malheur County and southwestern Idaho annually — 25 percent of the onions consumed in the country.

Walden and three other House members, including Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., met Wednesday with an FDA deputy commissioner. Walden says it won’t be known whether the FDA will relent on onions until the proposed rules are revised in a few months.



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