Ending out the anything-but-lame duck session, President Obama signed several bills into law on Wednesday, but the sweeping food safety bill approved by Congress Tuesday was not among them. The bill will likely not be signed into law until the President returns in early 2011 from a holiday vacation with his family in Hawaii.

The new food safety law will give FDA expanded authority over approximately 80 percent

of the food supply–not including USDA-regulated meat and poultry

products–by giving the agency mandatory recall powers and expanded

access to records.  It also requires growers and food facilities to

implement food safety plans and stipulates that foreign facilities

importing food to the U.S. must meet the same standards.

President Obama praised Congress this week for an exceptionally active lame duck session.

“I think it’s fair to say this has been the most productive post-election period we’ve had in decades, and it comes on the heels of the most productive two years we’ve had in generations,” said President Obama Wednesday.

Among a bevy of bills signed into law, the president signed the historic repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ “This is the right thing to do for our security. And it is the right thing to do, period,” said Obama.

In his remarks, Obama also lauded the food safety bill as a major achievement. “In addition, we came together across party lines to pass a food safety bill – the biggest upgrade of America’s food safety laws since the Great Depression,” said the president.

“Food is obviously close to our hearts,” said White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, in the daily White House briefing on Wednesday, adding that he did not know exactly when the President would sign the food safety bill.

For recent Food Safety News coverage on the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act:

Food Safety Bill Heads to President’s Desk December 22, 2010