(Feb. 9) Congressman Sam Farr (D-Calif.) has introduced a bill designed to aid the fresh spinach industry in its efforts to ensure food safety and restore consumer confidence.

The legislation, bill H.R. 912, also known as the Spinach Research and Recovery Act, is a response to help the fresh spinach industry rebound following last year’s E. coli outbreak.

In a Feb. 8 news release, Farr said the bill authorizes $26 million for food safety research specifically aimed at fresh produce, but also reserves additional funds to assist spinach handlers and producers who suffered losses after voluntary removals of product from markets in September.

Farr had planned to participate in a House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on food safety Thursday afternoon, shortly after introducing bill H.R. 912.

“Our fresh spinach producers responded admirably last fall at the first sign of trouble. Now we need to do what we can to help them recover,” said Farr in the release. “When so many doctors and parents are concerned about obesity and harmful eating habits among American adults and children, we need to do everything possible to make sure consumers are not turned off to one of the healthiest foods out there, spinach,” he added.

Farr said the bill is identical to one he introduced at the end of the last Congress. He said the bill has six bipartisan original co-sponsors: Reps. Cardoza, Costa, Filner, Gilchrest, Lofgren and Salazar.