In a vote Tuesday afternoon, the House passed the food safety bill, aimed at modernizing the food supply in the United States. The bill, which was already approved by the Senate, now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.
If approved by the president, the food safety bill would place stricter standards on imported foods, give the government broad new powers to increase inspections of food processing facilities and force companies to recall tainted food.
The long-anticipated bill has faced several obstacles since its introduction last year. The bi-partisan bill was first passed by the House in July 2009. In November, the Senate passed the bill, but it was unable to move on to the president because it included tax provisions that were constitutionally supposed to originate in the House.
Tuesday's vote came as a result of a last-minute, surprise reprieve Sunday by Democratic leader Harry Reid who worked with Republicans to pass a standalone food safety bill by voice vote, sending it to the House, according to news reports .
As a North Charleston foodborne illness attorney , I'm glad to hear that Congress is working to pass the bill during this lame duck session before they go into recess and new senators who won in November's election are introduced. I hope the president is able to sign this bill into law, which would work toward reducing the number of foodborne illnesses . One in six Americans gets sick from food every year, and about 3,000 die from those illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.