Food Safety Bill Passed By Senate

Bill sent to House after compromise reached.

Published on: Dec 21, 2010

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., negotiated a deal on the FDA Food Safety bill late Sunday that the GOP agreed not to filibuster. The bill was quickly passed by unanimous consent and sent to the House where passage is expected. President Obama has said he will sign the legislation.

The bill passed the Senate three weeks ago on a 75-23 vote, but the House found a glitch in the bill, as it appeared to violate a constitutional provision that requires new taxes to originate in the House rather than the Senate. The section in question would have imposed fees on importers, farmers and food processors whose food is recalled because of contamination.

After attempts by both House and Senate leaders to attach the legislation to other bills failed, it appeared that the bill was dead, until Reid and McConnell brokered the agreement late Sunday. The bill gives the Food and Drug Administration the authority to recall food; now, it must rely on food companies to voluntarily pull products off the shelves. And, the bill would give the FDA access to internal records at farms and food-production facilities.