Food safety bill crosses finish line in Congress

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December 21, 2010

As Food Safety Bill Crosses Finish Line in Congress,
Consumers Union Celebrates Big Victory for Consumers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A sweeping overhaul of America’s food safety system cleared its final hurdle in Congress today as the House approved the bill and sent it to the President to sign into law. The House approved the final measure by a vote of 215-144.
Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, celebrated the hard-fought victory for the legislation, which requires more frequent inspections of food facilities and, for the first time, gives the Food and Drug Administration the authority to order recalls of tainted food.
Jean Halloran, the director of food policy initiatives at Consumers Union, said, “This is a big victory for consumers that finally brings food-safety laws into the 21st century. This win is a powerful testament to the people across the country who came to Washington to tell their lawmakers how contaminated food had killed their loved ones or left them horribly sick. This win is for them and all Americans. For a long time, we’ve been saying that we needed to do a better job of making sure our food is safe, and under this bill, we will.”
The bill earned strong, bipartisan support from lawmakers, but its prospects were uncertain because time was running out as Congress prepared to adjourn for the year. The Senate passed the bill Sunday night, clearing a path for the House to approve it today.
Ami Gadhia, policy counsel for Consumers Union, said, “This bill has had more twists and turns than a NASCAR race, but it’s finally headed for the finish line. The biggest challenge facing this bill wasn’t a lack of support. It was a lack of time as the clock ticked down to the end of the session. Thankfully, Congress beat the clock.”
Consumers Union has been pressing Congress to update food-safety rules, pointing to the recent rash of contaminations of common foods such as eggs, spinach, and peanut products. The bill approved by Congress would overhaul laws that date back to the 1930’s.
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David Butler, 202-462-6262