Sen. Dick Durbin has said S. 510 would bring needed reforms to FDA regulation of the U.S. food industry.

Food Safety Bill Back on Track

Its passage Sunday evening by unanimous consent of the U.S. Senate was a surprise, The Washington Post reports.

S. 510, the Food Safety and Modernization Act championed by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., for two years, is back on track and likely to be enacted into law after the Senate passed it by unanimous consent Sunday evening. The Washington Post called its passage "a surprise" because while it easily passed on Nov. 30, the bill hit a legal roadblock when it reached the House of Representatives, and Democratic attempts to pass it failed as this lame-duck session was winding down.

Durbin has said the bill is an essential reform of FDA's oversight of the U.S. food industry. He cheered its passage Nov. 30 by a wide margin but saw it blocked because it was a revenue-raising measure that didn't originate in the House as required -- the mistake was that Senate staffers had failed to substitute the food safety language into a House-originated bill. Sunday's passage by the Senate makes it likely the House will agree and the bill will reach President Obama's desk for his signature.

Among the bill's supporters are the American Public Health Association, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Consumer Federation of America, and Consumers Union. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a statement Sunday, "Our food safety system has not been updated in almost a century. Families in Nevada and across America should never have to worry about whether the food they put on their table is safe. This is a common-sense issue with broad bipartisan support."

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