Wednesday afternoon, H.R. 2479, the Food Safety Enhancement act of 2009, failed to win passage by the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation would have increased funding and given more authority to the Food and Drug Administration to police food safety. The vote was 280 to 150, failing to garner the two-thirds supermajority that was necessary for passage.
Under the legislation, the FDA would be able to order food recalls. The bill would also require the agency to inspect food facilities more often and would give FDA authority to set production and record-keeping standards to prevent contamination and more easily trace outbreaks. Food facilities would be required to register and pay an annual $500 fee.
Before the vote, Representative Frank Lucas, R-Okla., said the bill would lead to huge regulatory burdens on farmers and ranchers and would contribute little to the goal of safer food. The Senate is expected to wait until fall to consider similar legislation.