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House Passes Food Safety Legislation

House Passes Food Safety Legislation

Associated Press

The U.S. House approved legislation Thursday intended to give the Food and Drug Administration more muscle to prevent food-borne illnesses.

A string of recent outbreaks of food-borne illnesses involved peanuts, spinach, hot peppers and other foods, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The Journal said the 283-142 vote in favor of the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 came after rural district representatives got a number of concessions on the bill, including the exemption of farms from paying a registration fee, the curbing of FDA access to farm records and curbing FDA authority to set production standards, limiting it to only the foods most likely to be contaminated.

The bill also exempts farms and facilities already regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

President Barack Obama called the vote “a major step forward in modernizing our food safety system and protecting Americans from food-borne illness.”

“Today the House of Representatives passed … legislation that will raise food safety standards, allow the FDA to issue mandatory recalls of harmful products and enhance our oversight of imported food,” Obama said.

The Senate is not expected to debate similar legislation until later this year.

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