President Obama is expected to sign the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act
early this week, a bill that is likely to make sweeping changes to the
regulation of domestic and imported foods.
The bill passed the House Dec. 21 by a 215-144 vote, just two days after the
Senate approved it by unanimous consent by attaching it to the "cash for
Once signed, the Food & Drug Administration will have new powers to
mandate food recalls, access company records, step up the frequency of
inspections, require performance standards and hazard prevention plans, and
oversee produce operations with on-farm safety standards.
The produce industry unsuccessfully fought to strip an amendment from the
Senate bill that would exempt certain small producers from food safety and
recordkeeping requirements. The measure that passed will require FDA to
exempt these facilities.
Now questions are being raised about whether FDA will receive adequate
funding to implement the $1.4 billion bill. The new Congress, which starts
Jan. 5, will have to tackle funding issues before a temporary stop-gap
spending bill expires in March and the Republican-controlled House is likely
to heavily scrutinize domestic funding requests.