Washington, D.C.:The Food Safety Modernization Act (S.510) was passed on Tuesday by the U.S. Senate. It now goes to the House of Representatives for its approval.
If passed, the bill will give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration more power to police food companies. For example, the FDA will be able to force recalls, as opposed to food companies voluntarily removing contaminated foods from store shelves.
In addition, it requires larger food processor and manufacturers to register with the FDA and to develop a food safety plan. Other measures of the bill include:
• FDA to create new produce safety regulations for producers of the highest risk fruits and vegetables;
• ??Increasing inspections of domestic and foreign food facilities, and re-directing resources to those operations with the highest risk profiles.
• Establishing stricter standards for the safety of imported food.
The House, which passed a food-safety bill last year, has agreed to adopt the Senate version. Once both chambers have approved the measure, it will be sent to President Barack Obama for his signature.
Both the Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA) and Food Marketing Institute (FMI) commended the Senate for passing the act by a 73-25 vote.
"We applaud the Senate the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act—this landmark legislation provides FDA with the resources and authorities the agency needs to help strengthen our nation’s food safety system by making prevention the focus of our food safety strategies,” said Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of GMA.
“The passage of the act represents more than two years of thoughtful, bipartisan efforts that included industry, consumer groups and all other stakeholders working toward a shared goal of improving our nation’s food safety system,” said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and CEO of FMI.
“With the Senate vote, we have taken another important step toward modernizing America’s food safety network and focusing on preventing problems before they occur, rather than just reacting to them. Now it is imperative that the House and Senate immediately reconcile the differences between their two proposals and find a path for a food safety bill to be enacted into law by the end of the year.”