December 21, 2010
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Washington, DC— Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, H.R. 2751, clearing the final hurdle and sending the bill to the President’s desk, where Mr. Obama has pledged to sign it. The legislation will enable consumers to ring in the New Year knowing that the U.S. food supply of the future will be safer.
With today’s vote, the House finished a circuitous process that started nearly a year and a half ago, when the body passed the first version of the food safety bill. In the interim, there have been numerous twists and turns that called into question whether landmark food safety legislation would pass. But indeed, the Senate took up a bill Sunday evening with a new bill number,and it passed by unanimous consent.
“Consumers have waited far too long for an overhaul of outdated food safety laws that do not adequately protect Americans from the threat of foodborne illness. We applaud the members of the House and Senate for overcoming the partisan gridlock and adopting this important measure. This holiday season, there are families in America feeling the absence of those they have lost due to foodborne illness; the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act will protect countless Americans – and their loved ones – from the perils of unsafe food,” stated Sally Greenberg, NCL Executive Director.
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act shifts the focus of the Food and Drug Administration from responding to foodborne illness outbreaks to preventing those outbreaks in the first place. Among other measures, the bill gives the agency the authority to recall contaminated products, develops new requirements for product traceability, and establishes a minimum inspection frequency for domestic food processing facilities. The legislation also increases oversight of imported foods, holding items produced abroad to the same safety standards as those that originate in the United States, and requires farmers and food processors to institute measures to prevent contamination.
The National Consumers League would like to thank Senators Durbin (D-IL), Harkin (D-IA), Dodd (D-CT), Gregg (R-NH), Burr (R-NC), and Enzi (R-WY), as well as Representatives Waxman (D-CA), Dingell (D-MI), DeLauro (D-CT), and Pallone (D-NJ) for their leadership in getting this legislation over the finish line. The League also extends its appreciation to Senators Reid (D-NV) and McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker Pelosi for enabling H.R. 2751 to come to the floor for votes in their respective chambers this week.
As a member of the Make Our Food Safe coalition, the National Consumers League joined other consumer organizations, public health organizations, and groups representing the families of victims of foodborne illness in supporting passage of the bill.
About the National Consumers League
The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.