The Washington Post (12/20, Layton) reports, “A bill that would overhaul the nation’s food-safety laws for the first time since the Great Depression came roaring back to life Sunday as Senate Democrats struck a deal with Republicans that helped overcome a technical mistake made three weeks ago and a filibuster threat that seemed likely to scuttle the legislation.” The Post adds, “Without notice and in a matter of minutes Sunday evening, the Senate approved the bill by unanimous consent, sending it to the House, where passage is expected. President Obama has said he would sign the legislation, which would give the government far-reaching authority to set and enforce safety standards for farmers and food processors.”
The AP (12/20, Jalonick) says, “The $1.4 billion bill would place stricter standards on imported foods and require larger producers to follow tougher rules for keeping food safe.”
Politico (12/20, Shiner) reports, “The food safety bill boosts the power of the Food and Drug Administration, giving the agency the authority to issue its own recalls over contaminated products, as well as increased access to manufacturer records in the case of emergencies. The legislation also enables third-party testing to ensure that FDA-regulated products meet the standards set by the agency.” Erik Olson of the Pew Health Group called the move “a major step toward improving how the US Food and Drug Administration protects people from preventable illnesses that sicken millions and kill thousands of Americans every year.”
In its Healthwatch blog, The Hill (12/20, Bolton) quotes Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) saying, “Tonight we unanimously passed a measure to improve on our current food safety system by giving the FDA the resources it needs to keep up with advances in food production and marketing, without unduly burdening farmers and food producers.” As a result of the passage, “families in Nevada and across America should never have to worry about whether the food they put on their table is safe. … This is a common-sense issue with broad bipartisan support.”
From the American Association for Justice news release.