In one of the only pieces of major, bipartisan legislation to pass under this highly divided Congress, the Senate this morning voted 73 to 25 in favor of the FDA Food Safety Modernization bill, potentially giving the agency power, for the first time, to oversee safety standards and pathogen testing at farms and food producers nationwide, as the Times reports. Opponents feared that this might unnecessarily burden small and organic farmers — “We still have concerns about the scope of the power that the FDA has and its tendency to write rules and regulations that favor agribusiness instead of small farmers,” says Judith McGeary, a small-farm advocate — but a late provision to the bill actually exempts all farmers making less than $500,000 a year, most of whom only sell locally.
There’s still a chance the bill could die in this lame-duck Congress unless the House agrees to pass the Senate’s version without too much back-and-forth — the House, you see, passed their own version last year.
But in any event, thank you Congress for enacting rules that we thought were already in place, to protect greedy egg profiteers and peanut butter tycoons from trying to poison us.
Senate Passes Overhaul of Food Safety Regulations [NYT]
Earlier: Pollan and Schlosser Tag Team to Pimp Food Safety Bill [Grub Street]
Easy Solution to the Egg Recall: Don’t Buy Cheap Eggs [Grub Street]