Senate Passes Sweeping Food Safety Overhaul

Geography of the vote, from The New York Times. Click here for an interactive breakdown of how Senators voted.
Showing remarkable bipartisan support, today the Senate voted 73-25 to pass S510, the Food Safety Modernization Act. The legislation would give the FDA the authority to test widely for dangerous pathogens such as salmonella and E. coli, recall contaminated food, and hold imported food to the same standard as domestic—powers the agency currently lacks. It’s the most extensive changes to food safety regulations in seven decades.
“This is crucial because the FDA is responsible for the safety of 80 percent of the nation’s food supply,” Erik D. Olson, director of the Pew Health Group food programs, said in response to the act’s passage. “Repeated disease outbreaks from contaminated foods, including eggs, lettuce, spinach, cookie dough, peanut products and so many other foods illustrate how serious foodborne disease problems continue to harm consumers and the food industry’s bottom line.”
The House has already passed its own version of the bill, and time is short for both houses to negotiate a compromise. Luckily, it sounds like top House Democrats are considering simply passing the Senate’s version to speed approval.
As we reported yesterday, Eric Schlosser, producer of the documentary Food, Inc., and Michael Pollan, author of Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, have voiced their support of the bill, while noting that’s it’s not perfect.
Click here to read why they believe it will greatly benefit consumers without harming small farmers or local food producers.
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