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The US House of Representatives failed to pass the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 yesterday, with the legislation supported by a vote of 280-150 but falling four votes shy of the two-thirds majority that the rules required for passage. Had it passed and been signed into law by President Barack Obama, the bill would have allowed the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to mandate recalls of contaminated food as well as enforce tighter regulation of the nation’s food producers.

Analysts say that the effective defeat of the measure shows that agricultural interests still exert significant lobbying muscle on Capitol Hill.

It is expected that the bill will be reintroduced as supporters try to get it through Congress before the August recess.

The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) responded quickly to the defeat, with president/CEO Leslie Sarasin saying that FMI was “disappointed the legislation did not pass as a result of the House rules process in place for this particular vote, which required approval by two-thirds of those voting. We would urge the House of Representatives to consider the bill under regular order, which requires a simple majority … We support the measure’s recognition of fully accredited third-party food safety certification programs and the need to develop traceability initiatives that build on industry efforts already underway.”
KC's View:
One can only hope.