S .510 Food Safety Modernization Act Passes in SenatePosted: November 30, 2010
The Food Safety Modernization Act was passed in the Senate this morning with a vote of 73 to 25. The bill includes an amendment that intends to safeguard small producers (those with less than $500,000 in yearly sales) who sell directly or locally from being overburdened with fees and paperwork. The New York Times has a fair reading of the bill’s implications and limitations:
“The bill is intended to keep unsafe foods from reaching markets and restaurants, where they can make people sick — a change from the current practice, which mainly involves cracking down after outbreaks occur. Both versions of the bill would grant the F.D.A. new powers to recall tainted foods, increase inspections, demand accountability from food companies and oversee farming. […] The legislation greatly increases the number of inspections of food processing plants that the F.D.A. must conduct, with an emphasis on foods that are considered most high risk — although figuring out which those are is an uncertain science. Until recently, peanut butter would not have made the list.”
The bill also increases juridiction over imported food:
“The bill gives the agency more control over food imports, including increased inspection of foreign processing plants and the ability to set standards for how fruits and vegetables are grown abroad.”
However, the bill hass limitations:
“Neither would consolidate overlapping functions at the Department of Agriculture and nearly a dozen other federal agencies that oversee various aspects of food safety, leaving coordination among the agencies a continuing challenge.”
The bill still needs to make it to the President’s desk, but this is nonetheless a ginormous victory for food safety!