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.   

  • dangermaus

    I really hope they have taken some of the more onerous regulatory stuff out of it… I still think it’s an unnecessary, wrong-headed federal power grab. This doesn’t address what’s really wrong with how we eat in the US.

  • I disagree with Dangermaus about it being a power grab. The past 8 years of non-regulation have proven to be a disaster for the American grocery consumer with one recall after another. Whereas in the “good old days” a recall would usually spell the death of a bad operator (anyone remember Bon Vivant soups?), today the multinationals who own the plants clean them up, pay the pitifully-small fines and then are back in business.
    That doesn’t mean I embrace every aspect of the bill, including talk about banning outright BPA. There are measures that need to be discussed, but unfortunately the food industry has a lousy record of policing itself.

  • Here is a link to the bill summary and a PDF of the bill