U.S. Representative John Dingell (D-MI), the longest serving member of the House and a longtime advocate for stronger food safety laws, recently told Washington, DC’s The Hill that the Senate “has been slow to act” on S.510, the pending food safety bill.

Dingell criticized the Senate for not taking up S.510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which unanimously passed out of committee in November and enjoys broad, bipartisan support.

The bill has been essentially stalled for months as Senate staff focused all attention on health care reform, and more recently on job creation.

“Unfortunately, even with bipartisan support, the Senate has been slow to act…We need the Senate to act as soon as possible so that we can get a bill to the president’s desk that will give the Food and Drug Administration the authorities and resources to address this real threat.”

Dingell was instrumental in the creation and passage of a similar bill in the House. H.R. 2749, which he calls “a monumental piece of bipartisan legislation,” overwhelmingly passed in the lower chamber last July.

“The problems with our nation’s food supply won’t just go away,” he told The Hill last week.

Public health, consumer, and industry groups pushing the bill are hopeful it will be taken up sometime in March, but the timing remains uncertain.

“It’s on our list of legislative priorities,” said Regan LaChapelle, a spokeswoman for Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) office. “It could be in March or the next work period. Obviously we have many issues to address.