Senator, Execs Push for Vote on Food Safety Bill

As members of Congress return to D.C. for the year's last few months of legislative work, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D.-Minn.) and executives from Hormel and Supervalu are pushing for passage of a food safety bill that would give the Food and Drug Administration broader powers in cases of food-related illnesses and recalls.

The bill, the "FDA Food Safety Modernization Act" (S. 510), was introduced in March 2009, with Sen. Klobuchar is one of its lead sponsors. The senator and the executives held a press conference on Sunday to bring more attention to the bill, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The bill was passed out of the Senate's Subcommittee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions in November 2009, but no action has been taken on it since.

Similar legislation has passed the House, the Star Tribune reported.

"I think we can do a lot better with our food safety system," Sen. Klobuchar reported said at the event. "We know this is only the beginning, but right now there is a glaring problem with the FDA and a glaring problem with resources and their lack of authority to do recalls and get company records."

She described the bill as one that would provide the FDA with greater power to inspect and recall food products, according to the report. It also would establish five regional centers where the Centers for Disease Control would work with local public health agencies to combat foodborne illnesses.

By Lisa M. Keefe on 9/13/2010