UPDATE: The Food Safety Modernization Act passes 73-25. Here is a list of how the Senators voted.
The US Senate is currently voting on the passage of S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, a long-stalled bill that would introduce enhanced governmental oversight of the nation's food producers' safety systems.
Some opponents to the bill assert that it imposes the same one-size-fits all set of legislation on small farmers and producers and giant food conglomerates and factory farms alike, placing a strain on those less equipped to comply with new regulations. They also fear it will raise food prices and all $1.5 billion to the deficit, and too extremely centralize and concentrate governmental control over food producers.
Supporters claim that these measures are necessary to protect the public from compromised food, such as the salmonella-tainted eggs that sickened more than 1,600 people this past August.
– The FDA would have the authority to issue direct recalls of foods that are suspected to be tainted, rather than relying on individual producers to voluntarily issue recalls.
CNN Radio's Jim Roope speaks with FDA's Associate Commissioner for Food Protection, Dr. Jeff Farrar about the measures the FDA can currently take.
– Food producers would be required to develop written food safety plans, accessible by the government in case of emergency. These would include hazard analysis and a plan for implementing corrective measures.
– The Secretary of Health and Human Services would be required to create a food tracing system that would streamline the process of finding the source of contamination, should an outbreak occur.
– Importers would be required to verify the safety of all imported foods to make sure it's in accordance with U.S. food safety guidelines.
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