House Passes Sweeping Food Safety Bill

eggs - food safety billThe U.S. House of Representatives today passed a massive reform bill governing food safety that overhauls the nation's hodgepodge of laws that have been put in place over the last 70 years.

The bill now goes on to President Obama for his signature -- and he has promised to sign it into law.

During today's debate in the House, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., urged his colleagues to pass the measure and not wait until the new Congress comes in next year because consumers' health was at stake."We can dawdle around," he said. "During that time, there are going to be Americans sickened. There are going to be Americans killed and there are going to be Americans hospitalized."

Earlier this month the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said that one in six Americans gets sick each year from food poisoning. The bill gives the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recall power, expands inspection programs and creates standards for farmers and food producers -- all in the hopes of reducing the amount of possibly contaminated food that reaches consumers' plates.

House Republicans objected to the bill, saying it added more government and spending. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., said the bill would cost $1.4 billion.

The U.S. Senate had passed the bill Sunday night, in a moved lauded by consumer groups including the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

"It is a huge victory for consumers," said CSPI Food Safety Director Caroline Smith DeWaal in a statement.

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