WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate has reached a tentative agreement on The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, and the bill now appears likely to pass when Congress reconvenes in September.
Originally introduced in March 2009, the bill would give the Food and Drug Administration additional resources to hire new inspectors, and would require the agency to inspect farms and food production facilities more frequently. The bill would also give the agency the authority to deny entry to the U.S. any foods imported from foreign facilities that lack safety certifications, and to order mandatory recalls for foods that have been linked to illness outbreaks.
The House has already passed its version of the bill, but concerns over how several of the bill's provisions would impact small farms have held up its passage in the Senate. That issue remains unresolved, as does a proposed amendment to restrict the use of the chemical Bisphenol A in food packaging. But, Senate leaders were reportedly pleased with a manager's amendment that was put together prior to the August recess.
“We commend the bipartisan group of six Senate leaders who worked diligently to negotiate a manager's package of The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act,” Leslie G. Sarasin, president and chief executive officer of the Food Marketing Institute, said in a release. “We are pleased to see the process moving forward and we urge the Senate to take up this bill as soon as they return from recess.”