The Senate has reached a “tentative agreement” on the pending safety bill and staff will be briefed on the language Thursday, a staffer told The Hill yesterday.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee is expected to release the manager’s package and a Congressional Budget Office score, according to The Hill.

“It’s a clear signal that this is going to happen when they come back in September,” said Sandy Eskin, director of the Pew Charitable Trust’s food safety campaign.

Sources on the Hill confirmed that there are ongoing discussions about

bringing the bill to a vote in September.

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, introduced by Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) in March of 2009, rolled to a halt in the Senate after being unanimously approved by committee last November.

Health care reform and a series of other legislative priorities, as well as lingering disagreements over a bisphenol-A ban and on how to ease the impact of new regulations on small farmers have not helped the bill, which enjoys broad bipartisan support and overhauls the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) oversight of 80 percent of the food supply.

According to Ferd Hoefner, policy director for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), the manager’s package, which should become public later this week, does not currently contain the controversial, and increasingly popular, Tester amendment.

Hoefner told Food Safety News that staff are continuing to work on the amendment and hope to reach an agreement so the amendment can be accepted under unanimous consent.