Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Food safety bill awaits president's(Obama) signature

The legislation passed Tuesday would give the government broad new powers to inspect processing plants, order recalls, and impose stricter standards for imported foods. The $1.4 billion bill would also require larger farms and food manufacturers to prepare detailed food safety plans and tell the Food and Drug Administration how they are working to keep their food safe at different stages of production.

Praising the House, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the bill will give her agency new tools to make substantial improvements in food safety.

"This law makes everyone responsible and accountable at each step in today's global food supply chain," Hamburg said.

The food safety bill has faced several false starts since the House first passed it in July 2009. It stalled in the Senate for more than a year as small farms objected to the increased oversight and conservatives complained about the cost. Most recently, the Senate passed the bill in November with tax provisions that were supposed to originate in the House under the Constitution, threatening completion of the bill.

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