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Farm Official Defends Produce-Handling Act

Congressional attempts to eliminate the system of federal produce-handling laws are misguided and will hurt growers, shippers and consumers, a top federal farm official says.

Lon Hatamiya, head of the Agriculture Department’s Agricultural Marketing Service, said the Clinton administration will fight attempts to scuttle the 55-year-old Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act.

The act sets standards for those licensed to operate in the produce industry and provides remedies for unfair business practices.

Elimination of the act was proposed under the banner of reducing the federal bureaucracy, but Hatamiya said the act is totally financed by user fees and involves no tax dollars.

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