Food Safety Bill Passes the SenateNovember 30, 2010 - by Donny Shaw
By a bipartisan vote of 73-25, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act has passed the Senate. The bill now goes to the House of Representatives, which is expected to pass it, rather than convene a conference committee, and then send it to Obama to be signed into law before the end of the lame duck session.
The bill would increase the FDA’s regulatory authority over the food production system in order to prevent contamination and food-borne illness outbreaks. It would give the FDA new authority to force recalls of food they believe to be contaminated, require food producers to have qualifying plans in place for addressing safety risks, increase inspections of “high risk” food facilities, and requires importers to verify the safety of all imported foods. Small food facilities that do less than $500,000 in sales annually and sell most of their food within a 275 mile area would be exempt from the new regulations, though the FDA reserves the right to revoke the exemption for a given facilities if they come across contaminated food from the facility while investigating a foodborne illness outbreak.