The Senate has passed the Food Safety Modernization Act with a bipartisan 73-25 vote on Tuesday after awaiting debate in the chamber for more than a year.
The bill gives the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the right to order recalls and greater access to companies’ safety records, and requires food manufacturers to put in place detailed food safety plans. It represents the biggest overhaul of the US food safety system in decades.
In order for the legislation to progress, the bill must be reconciled with legislation passed in the House in July 2009 – the Food Safety Enhancement Act – before it can reach the President’s desk to be signed into law.
The bill was developed largely in response to a spate of foodborne illness outbreaks that hit the United States over the past several years, including one caused by salmonella-tainted peanut products, which killed at least nine and sickened more than 700.