Thursday the House passed H.R. 2749, the most extensive change in U.S. food regulations in decades. The bill, passing 283-142, will fund the Federal Food and Drug Administration to increase inspections of processing plants and authorize the F.D.A. to initiate food recalls (currently, food manufacturers recall tainted products voluntarily).
“The push for the bill followed food recalls involving cookie dough, spinach and peppers…,” writes Brian Faler for Bloomberg. “Earlier this year, an outbreak of salmonella-tainted peanuts killed at least eight people and sickened 600. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are 76 million cases of food-borne illnesses annually, 5,000 of which prove fatal.”
Opponents of the bill (which had failed to reach a 2/3 majority vote on Wednesday) said it burdened food processors with added fees and paperwork.
Other portions of the bill will hold food importers to U.S. standards for safety, improve traceability, and give the FDA added power to set food safety standards. The Senate is expected to take up the food safety issue this fall.