Senate lawmakers say the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should conduct more food inspections and during an emergency the government should have better access to industry test results. Therefore, a bipartisan team of lawmakers has introduced a bill that would expand FDA funding and give the agency more power to recall food. The legislation would require importers to verify the safety of their products and directs plants to address hazards and prevent product contamination.
Senate Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin, D-Ill., says it’s clear that the FDA simply can't keep up with the challenge. The challenge is the fact that FDA is charged with protecting nearly 80% of our food supply. Senator Judd Gregg, R-N.H., says there is momentum for this and that there is no significant opposition to this bill.
The Senate bill also has the support of several groups including the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Consumers Union and the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Several bills have previously been introduced in Congress in the interest of food safety overhauls, but they have stalled. Lawmakers are confident this time would be different.