Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

Food Safety Bill In Doubt After Budget Concession

Pending food safety legislation hit a serious snag late Thursday as Senate Democrats abandoned their effort to fight for an all-encompassing provision to fund the government through September.

The fate of the food safety legislation, which was attached to both the House and Senate versions of wide-ranging spending bills, would be the first significant reform of food safety laws in several decades.  What happens next for the bill is not clear, as lawmakers on Capitol Hill work out the details to fund the government.

A funding agreement needs to be reached soon–the current continuing resolution funding the federal government expires at midnight Saturday.

House and Senate leaders are negotiating the details of what is expected to be a short-term continuing resolution, which would avoid a government shutdown and give the 112th Congress–along with its many incoming Republicans–the job of passing a longer term spending bill in early 2011.

Whether the food safety bill has any shot at riding a short-term CR to passage before the end of the year is uncertain.

Carol Tucker-Foreman, director of the Consumer Federation of America’s food policy institute, told Food Safety News the bill is “down but not out.”

“There is an opening to get it done,” says Tucker-Foreman, a longtime food policy insider who served as an assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the Carter administration.  “Everyone knows it passed both houses by [two-thirds] vote.  Everyone knows it would already be law if the Senate hadn’t made an error.” (Tucker-Foreman is referring to the Senate passing the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which inadvertently contained an unconstitutional provision, earlier this month.)
 
“Letting it die now would not seem to enhance the public standing of the Congress,” she added.  ”In fact, my guess is that if it does die, the Congress will be reminded of the above facts every time there is an outbreak.  And the outbreaks will continue.”


Follow @foodsafetynews on Twitter for breaking news updates. 

© Food Safety News
  • http://www.healthyfoodcoalition.org hhamil

    Once again Food Safety News has perpetuated the falsehood put forward by advocates of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that “the food safety legislation…would be the first significant reform of food safety laws in several decades.”
    What were the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (PL 89–755, 80 Stat 1296), Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 (PL 101-535, 104 Stat 2353), Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (PL 103-417, 108 Stat 4332) and the 2002 Bioterrorism Act?
    In addition, Carol Tucker-Foreman was not accurate when she said, “Everyone knows it passed both houses by [two-thirds] vote. Everyone knows it would already be law if the Senate hadn’t made an error.” I don’t know that either is true. The FSMA passed in the House by a vote of 212-206 AFTER it was clear that it would have to return to the Senate for another vote.

  • http://www.mobiasolutions.com Dave Miller

    To be more accurate, the House passed its ORIGINAL version of the bill (Food Safety Enhancement Act) by over 2/3s. When the Senate screwed up (maybe they all need a 4th grade civics class!) ans passed S.510 the House had to accept it in whole without reconciliation , or loose it. THAT “forced feeding” they did not like and it did not have a 2/3′s majority.
    NOT a perfect bill but it will save lives of consumers and ultimately money for the food industry, which is why consumer groups and the majority of the industry groups support it.

  • http://www.healthyfoodcoalition.org Harry Hamil

    Once again Food Safety News has perpetuated the falsehood put forward by advocates of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that “the food safety legislation…would be the first significant reform of food safety laws in several decades.”
    What were the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (PL 89–755, 80 Stat 1296), Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 (PL 101-535, 104 Stat 2353), Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (PL 103-417, 108 Stat 4332) and the 2002 Bioterrorism Act?
    In addition, Carol Tucker-Foreman was not accurate when she said, “Everyone knows it passed both houses by [two-thirds] vote. Everyone knows it would already be law if the Senate hadn’t made an error.” I don’t know that either is true. The FSMA passed in the House by a vote of 212-206 AFTER it was clear that it would have to return to the Senate for another vote.

  • http://www.mobiasolutions.com Dave Miller

    To be more accurate, the House passed its ORIGINAL version of the bill (Food Safety Enhancement Act) by over 2/3s. When the Senate screwed up (maybe they all need a 4th grade civics class!) ans passed S.510 the House had to accept it in whole without reconciliation , or loose it. THAT “forced feeding” they did not like and it did not have a 2/3′s majority.
    NOT a perfect bill but it will save lives of consumers and ultimately money for the food industry, which is why consumer groups and the majority of the industry groups support it.

  • In

    “NOT a perfect bill but it will save lives of consumers and ultimately money for the food industry, which is why consumer groups and the majority of the industry groups support it.”
    You think industry groups (collectively, not individuals) care about lives??? Yeah, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you in upstate New York…
    Industry groups support it because it limits competition and can increase their profits. They lobbied for this and most consumers are too dumb to realize that this bill is not about “safety”. This is about money. Industry groups lobbied for this because it is in their financial interest. They only care about safety to the extent that it affects their bottom line.
    If this bill is signed into law it will be harder for organic and small farmers to make a living probably putting many of them out of business. The quality of the food, which is already poor, will get worse contributing to the nations already poor health. This bill will do much more damage to human life than what it saves.

  • Kyle

    Our world is severly overpopulated. There is NO WAY we can continue to feed our country in the manner we are accustomed to without the “factory farm” system, as horrible as it may be. There is NO WAY to produce that many hogs, chickens, vegetable, fruits, etc. Bacteria and other “dangerous” organisms are a constant in our environment. There will ALWAYS be outbreaks, no matter what regulations are passed. This legislation is NOT in anyone’s best interests, especially the public. It only makes additional regulations, which will force ALL small farmers, the only one’s who still grow or raise our food properly, completely out of business, because they won’t be able to afford to put the new regulations in place. Under the guise of “our safety”, Monsanto, Cargill, and other giant corporations seek to take complete control of the food production in our country. Thats all this legislation is about. NOT OUR SAFETY.

  • W R

    This Bill is NOT about food safety, it is about the industrial food giants fearful of competition from small and organic farmers! It gives the USDA the right to shut down any food producer for NO reason at all
    We know the megacorporations control their USDA puppets, this only furthers their agenda

  • T R

    The bill will not put small farmers out of business. There are provisions within it to exempt small farmers and individuals who farm for themselves.
    You people should bother to read about the bill before spouting crap that is in blatant contradiction to the actual bill.
    I swear, I find it difficult to imagine that most of the posters here were not paid to post their statements.