AP071113018478The recent spate of contaminated-food recalls in the United States appears to be opening the door for wider regulatory control over the industry by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Indeed, the issue has furnished one of the few bipartisan openings in the recently convened lame-duck Congress. Today, a group of Senate Republicans crossed the aisle to break a filibuster, thereby allowing debate to proceed on a long-stalled food-safety bill that would finally provide the FDA with the power to issue mandatory food recalls.
The bill would also allow the FDA to conduct more frequent inspections of food producers, outfitting agency inspectors with more authority to track fruit and vegetable shipments — and to remove contaminated goods from the nation's food supply.
Congressional Democrats have long sought a way to expand the FDA's food-safety oversight, since under the present system, the Department of Agriculture, which has a less expansive regulatory mandate, handles food recalls. But this latest bill has gained traction in part because the food industry itself has supported more aggressive regulation, looking to undo some of the damage that setbacks such as this summer's enormous egg recall have done to the industry's image.Read More »from Senate finally moves to vote on food-safety bill