The upshot is that food is now more closely scrutinized than at any time in history, and the Food Safety Modernization Act has been signed into law, but is that quieting the butterflies in your stomach?
President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed the most sweeping overhaul of America's food safety system since 1938.
The legislation gives the federal Food and Drug Administration the authority to impose new rules to prevent contamination and allows the agency to order, rather than simply suggest, the recall of tainted foods. It also authorizes the creation of a food tracking system to quickly pinpoint the source of outbreaks.
The legislation requires producers to assess ways in which their products could be contaminated and to take steps to prevent such problems. It also requires importers to verify the safety of all foods they bring into the country.
The result will be a fundamental shift in the FDA's approach to food safety from reacting to foodborne illness outbreaks to preventing contamination in the first place, agency Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said.
Read Obama signs food safety bill on CNN Politics
Get more on S.510 - the Food Safety Modernization Act:
UPDATE: The bill has now been signed into law by President Obama.
President Barack Obama is expected to sign into law the most-sweeping overhaul of America's food safety system since 1938 after he returns to Washington on Tuesday from a family vacation in Hawaii.
The bill allows for greater governmental regulation of the U.S. food system - recently in the national spotlight for numerous egg and produce recalls.
Among its provisions, the bill gives the federal Food and Drug Administration the authority to issue direct recalls of foods that are suspected to be tainted, rather than relying on individual producers to issue recalls voluntarily.
Currently, the FDA can negotiate with companies, but has no power to enact a mandatory recall.
UPDATE – The House has passed Food Safety Bill (S.510) 215 to 144 - with the provision of S.372, The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act. The bill now goes to President Obama to sign.
Sanjay Gupta spoke with chef Tom Colicchio and RedState.com editor-in-chief Erick Erickson about the growing controversy over governmental oversight of food safety, spurred on by the recent unanimous Senate vote in favor of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
Get more on S.510 - the Food Safety Modernization Act:
The bill, designed to increase government inspections of the food supply in the wake of recent deadly foodborne disease outbreaks, originally passed with wide support in both chambers. However, it faced an uncertain future, requiring re-approval because it violated a Constitutional requirement that bills that raise revenue initiate in the House. On Friday, Senate leadership aides on both sides of the aisle said Republicans objected to giving it quick approval in the waning days of the congressional session.
The Senate voted on the slightly modified bill on Sunday and S.510 is now expected to receive a final vote in the House before the President signs it into law.
A sweeping food safety bill that passed the House and Senate earlier this year before stalling because of a legislative technicality now will likely die because Republicans object to giving it quick approval in the waning days of the congressional session, Senate leadership aides on both sides of the aisle said Friday.
The bill, designed to increase government inspections of the food supply in the wake of recent deadly food borne disease outbreaks, originally passed with wide support in the both chambers. However, it needs approval again because it violated a Constitutional requirement that bills that raise revenue initiate in the House.
On Tuesday, the Senate voted in favor of the long-stalled Food Safety Modernization Act. While a final vote date hasn’t yet been set, President Obama hopes a House vote will go through with similar gusto, saying "We are one step closer to having critically important new tools to protect our nation's food supply and keep consumers safe."
The bill, which represents the most sweeping overhaul of the food safety system since 1938, allows for greater governmental regulation of the U.S. food system - currently in the national spotlight for numerous egg and produce recalls that have kept Americans in fear of their breakfast since this past August.
Jane Velez-Mitchell is the author of 'iWant: My Journey from Addiction and Overconsumption to a Simpler, Honest Life' and 'Secrets Can Be Murder: The Killer Next Door' as well as 'Addict Nation: An Intervention for America' which will be published in February, 2011. She hosts ISSUES with Jane Velez-Mitchell nightly on HLN at 7p ET.
"Half measures avail us nothing." It’s a profound saying that usually applies to recovery from addiction, but, it could just as well be applied to America’s food crisis. The U.S. Senate’s passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act (S.510) is a step in the right direction, but, it fails to address the core issue at the very heart of our nation’s struggle to keep our food supply safe: the extreme and cruel confinement of animals raised and killed for food.
The U.S. Senate has just voted, 73-26, in favor of S.510 – the Food Safety Modernization Act. The bill offers a sweeping overhaul of the nation's current food safety regulations, empowering the FDA with oversight of mandatory recalls of potentially contaminated food, requirements for food producers to develop written food safety plans, accessible by the government in case of emergency and implementation of a food tracing system.
While supporters and opponents of the bill agree that food safety is paramount - especially in light in this past summer's egg-based salmonella contamination that sickened over 1,600 consumers - there is considerable disagreement about the level of federal involvement that should be allowed.
On which side of the fence do you fall?
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.