The Senate passed important food safety legislation Tuesday, aimed at placing stricter standards on imported foods, giving the government broad new powers to increase inspections of food processing facilities and forcing companies to recall tainted food, according to The Associated Press.
The bill passed 73-25 and will now go to a House to reconcile different versions of the bill. If the Senate bill is passed, it will be sent to President Barack Obama for approval.
Proponents of the food safety legislation say it would help food producers prevent food poisoning outbreaks and provide government with more tools to keep food products safe. Opponents, however, argue the legislation will cause problems for small farms and includes undefined measures like BPA regulation, a chemical found in most plastic products.
The bill was tweaked by Senate sponsors to get the approval, eliminating some fees and reducing the amount of money spent on inspectors, according to news reports, but proponents still believe the bill's passage is a major step forward.
As a North Charleston foodborne illness lawyer , I look forward to having this bill move forward. The FDA estimates there are 76 million food-related illnesses a year, 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths in the United States.