For Immediate Release
March 19, 2012
Contact: Rep. André Jacque (920) 819-8066
Regulatory Reform Bill Authored by Rep. Jacque Heads to Governor’s Desk
Legislation will allow expanded production, hiring for Two Rivers company at no expense to taxpayers
Madison, WI – SB 517, written by Rep. André Jacque, passed the Wisconsin State Assembly last Friday evening by unanimous voice vote. The bill heads to Gov. Walker’s desk after having cleared the State Senate earlier in the week. It corrects a quirk in Wisconsin statutes and provides that food processors such as Riverside Foods in Two Rivers, which do not utilize fluid milk in their production process but instead receive pasteurized cheese products from licensed dairy plants, will not need to incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnecessary equipment costs to meet 3A standards that serve no appreciable purpose in relation to their production activities. The change will bring Wisconsin in line with the entire rest of the country and significantly reduce the cost of new equipment for value-added processing of cheese products. Rep. Jacque developed the bill in conjunction with a variety of stakeholders after hearing the challenges confronting Riverside during a tour of their facilities last year.
“Businesses have consistently cited Wisconsin’s costly and onerous regulatory climate as a key factor inhibiting economic growth,” said Jacque. “Regulations play a vital role in ensuring adequate safeguards for products and consumer protection, including food safety, but it is essential that regulations be reasonable if job creators and consumers are to have confidence in Wisconsin’s regulatory system. I am very pleased that this reform will allow Riverside Foods to invest in even more production and jobs in the Lakeshore area,” he added.
“It shouldn’t cost more to manufacture in Wisconsin because of our over-regulation,” said Sen. Frank Lasee, the bill’s lead Senate sponsor. “We need to encourage job creation in our state and this law change will accomplish that,” he said.
Founded in Two Rivers, Riverside Foods produces frozen appetizers and seafood entrees for the food service industry, serving restaurants across the Midwest and national convenience food chains with a great variety of products, several of which feature Wisconsin cheese (such as breaded mozzarella sticks and breaded cheese curds). Riverside Foods currently employs about 85 people at its Two Rivers facilities and expects to add dozens more good-paying, family-supporting jobs with the passage of SB 517.
Paul Becker, co-owner of Riverside Foods, provided the impetus for the bill. "Previous laws required additional expenses to meet the same standards as milk and cheese producers. We may have been forced to move our plant to another state which does not have these regulations," said Becker, citing an additional $380,000 in equipment costs which would have been incurred (in Wisconsin only) without the change. "I would like to thank Representative Jacque and Senator Lasee for their hard work on this bill, so that we can continue to grow in our region and keep jobs in Two Rivers,” he said.
Senator Lasee and a number of other individuals have provided valuable support in moving the bill through the process, including WI Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Food Safety Division administrator Steve Ingham, Nick George of the Midwest Food Processors Association, John Manske and David Ward of the Wisconsin Cooperative Network, John Umhoefer of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, Two Rivers city administrator Greg Buckley, and Manitowoc County Economic Development Corporation director Connie Loden.
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