Reacting to the Senate passage of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, President Obama said the nation is one step closer to having critically important new tools to protect the food supply and keep consumers safe. This legislation ensures more frequent inspections of food manufacturing facilities and will require these facilities to take preventative actions to reduce the risks of outbreaks and foodborne illness. The President urged House passage.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack praised the Senate action, saying that as a co-chair of President Obama's Food Safety Working Group, there is no more fundamental function of government than protecting consumers from harm, which is why food safety is one of USDA's top priorities. He says the bill addresses longstanding challenges in the food safety and defense system by promoting a prevention-oriented approach and providing the Federal Government with appropriate tools to prevent foodborne illness.
Senator Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and one of the bill's sponsors, says the bipartisan bill will give our citizens some long-overdue peace of mind in the supermarket aisles, establishing tough new protections against contaminated food.
The National Farmers Union also voiced support for the act, which requires improved planning and record-keeping by food producers and gives the Food and Drug Administration power to recall contaminated food. NFU urges the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the legislation as soon as possible. NFU President Roger Johnson called the bill historic.