Senate passes Bill on Food Safety

The Senate passed a bill giving federal regulators new powers over food safety on Tuesday. It cleared the Senate on a 73-25 vote.

The Food and Drug Administration would gain the power to order food recalls, which are voluntary. The FDA would also gain more authority to track fruit and vegetable shipments and mandates that producers write safety plans.

Final passage of the bill is not a sure thing, however, due to the tight schedule of Congress’s lame-duck session.

The idea is to have faster responses to contamination outbreaks. The bill is backed by the US Chamber of Commerce and major business groups representing food producers and grocery stores.

Small farms have held up the legislation, warning of higher prices to comply with the new rules. Consumers may lose local produce if small farms can’t keep up. The response: an amendment exempting small farms and food processors with annual sales under $500,000 from the new regulations if they sell their goods directly to consumers or restaurants no more than 275 miles away. The exemption could be removed in emergency cases.

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Posted on December 2, 2010, in Newspaper & Journal Articles, Politics & The Economy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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