Senate Bill Up for Vote-to strengthen FDA and protect food from contamination

The Washington Post (11/30, Layton) reports, “The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday on legislation that would revamp food safety, give significant new authority to the Food and Drug Administration and place new responsibilities on farmers and processors to keep food free from contamination. The Senate began debate on the measure Monday.” The Post explains that “a version of the bill easily passed in the House more than a year ago but has languished in the Senate. Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) is pushing to get the bill passed before the lame-duck session ends in December.”

CQ Today (11/30, Gardner, Lesniewski) reports, “The Senate on Monday inched closer to passage of an overhaul of food safety regulations that would bestow powers on the Food and Drug Administration, after rejecting proposals to repeal a paperwork requirement in the 2010 health care overhaul.” CQ adds, “The Senate voted, 69-26, to limit debate on the motion to proceed to a substitute amendment offered by Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, to the bill (S 510) that would overhaul food safety laws.”

The Hill (11/30, Pecquet) notes in its “Healthwatch” blog, “The Senate bill would give the Food and Drug Administration the power to recall tainted food, quarantine geographic areas and access food producers’ records.”

The Huffington Post (11/30, Graves) reports that the food-safety bill “has attracted broad support on both sides of the political aisle.” It “has the backing of Congressional Democrats and has been touted by the likes of environmental activist Michael Pollan, who, in a New York Times op-ed on Sunday, called the measure ‘the best opportunity in a generation to improve the safety of the American food supply.'” In addition, “the conservative US Chamber of Commerce endorsed the bill on Monday, arguing it will ‘improve America’s ability to prevent food borne illness and boost consumer confidence in US food supplies while minimally burdening small farms and consumers.'”

The AP (11/30, Jalonick) reports, “The Food and Drug Administration would have to step up inspections of food plants under legislation the Senate is expected to pass this week.” The measure, “which has stalled in that chamber for more than a year, would give the FDA authority to order a recall of tainted products and would require food manufacturers and farms to follow stricter safety standards. At present, the agency must negotiate with sellers of tainted food to issue a voluntary recall.” Notably, “supporters say passage is critical in the wake of large-scale outbreaks of salmonella and E. coli in peanuts, eggs and produce.”
From the desk of John Badal, Berks County and Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania injury lawyer with the law firm of Liever, Hyman & Potter, Reading, PA .Reprinted from AAJ news brief of November 30, 2010.

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