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The Washington Post reports that a landmark food safety bill that already has been passed by the US House of Representatives (in a rare bipartisan show of support) is being held up in the Senate because of a proposed amendment by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) that would ban bisphenol A or BPA, from food packaging because of emerging health concerns.

"This is the most awesomely frustrating thing I've ever undergone," Rep. John Dingell (D-Michigan) tells the Post. "Seventy-six million people are sickened by bad food in this country every year, 300,000 go to the hospital and 5,000 die. And the Senate sits on this bill like a hen on an egg."

According to the story, “Dingell wrote the House bill, which would grant vast new authorities to the Food and Drug Administration and mark the first serious reform of food safety laws in 70 years.”

In his letter to Feinstein, Dingell wrote: "I implore you to not allow the perfect be the enemy of the good. Time is running out. Our choices are becoming increasingly clear -- we can either find middle ground, or we can become obstinate in our views and fail to meet any of our goals. It would be calamitous if a bill to protect American consumers from unsafe food cannot become law this year because of controversy over a single point."

Feinstein responded in a letter: “"I believe that we need legislation to protect consumers, especially babies and toddlers, from harmful chemicals. BPA is a chemical widely used in the production of certain plastics and has been linked to negative health problems, including brain and behavioral disorders, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and obesity. The Food Safety Bill is the logical place for this legislation, but special interests are fighting to obstruct any legislation to ban BPA from consumer products."
KC's View:
Clearly, they need to get the food safety bill passed and onto President Obama’s desk, and then deal with BPA separately. But politics rarely seems to be about clarity anymore.