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The Des Moines Register reports that the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions last week agreed on a bill that would overhaul the nation’s food safety apparatus and sent it to the full Senate for a vote.

Published reports noted that the bill did not contain an amendment that would have banned the use of Bisphenol A (BPA) in plastic food and beverage containers, though its prime supporter, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) has promised to introduce it yet again to the full Senate.

According to the Register, the approve bill includes the following provisions:

• Increases FDA inspections of processors and gives the agency the authority to demand the recall of tainted products.

• Requires facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold food to have plans for preventing contamination by dangerous bacteria and other hazards.

• Requires importers to verify the safety of foreign food suppliers.

• Provides training for facilities to help them comply with new safety regulations and “includes special accommodations for small businesses and farms.”

• Authorizes a pilot project to test new methods for tracking foods in the event of a food-borne illness outbreak.

The House of Representatives approved a version of the bill in 2009.

In a statement released on Friday, Leslie G. Sarasin, president/CEO of the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) said, “We commend the bi-partisan group of six Senate leaders who worked diligently to negotiate a manager’s package of The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. Consumers have the right to expect that the food they purchase is safe, affordable and meets the highest quality standards. We are pleased to see the process moving forward and we urge the Senate to take up this bill as soon as they return from recess.”
KC's View:
There seems to be some concern that the Senate will be so bogged down with other legislation that it may not get to the Food Safety bill. To which MNB would respond, just do your damn jobs. Work nights, work weekends. Get this bill onto the President’s desk...sooner rather than later.