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House Passes Landmark Food Safety Bill. Is It Safe to Eat Again?

President Obama commended the House for passing HR 2749 yesterday, the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009, which amends the Federal food, Safety and Cosmetic Act. HR 2749 was a long time coming; lead sponsor John Dingell (D-MI) repeatedly noted yesterday during the hour-long debate leading to the House vote that “this bill is old enough to vote,” because versions have been floating around Capitol Hill for 21 years. Although Rep. Dingell is the oldest member of the House (he’s 83), he was on fire yesterday, and running circles around his younger colleagues who were voicing opposition. Over the last few months, Rep. Dingell and his co-sponsors worked tirelessly to create a unified front for HR 2749, and it passed with Bipartisan support in the House, as well as with the support (or neutrality) of everyone from major consumers’ groups to all kinds of growers’ groups, producers’ groups, and even grocers’ groups. Though the final Bill went through many dilutions on its way to yesterday’s vote (there were three major mark-ups in about 18 hours between Tuesday and Wednesday, when there was a first attempt to bring the Bill to a vote), it’s still the biggest change to the food safety landscape in fifty years. Read more