Food-Safety Proposal in Senate Empowers U.S. to Force Recalls

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By Nicole Gaouette

March 3 (Bloomberg) -- Food-safety legislation introduced in the Senate today would give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration new power to order recalls and open companies’ internal records for inspection.

Senators Richard Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, and Judd Gregg, Republican of New Hampshire, sponsored the measure, the first since President Barack Obama offered a budget proposal last week allocating $1 billion to strengthen food safety.

“Over the last year, we’ve seen major recalls of peanut butter spiked with salmonella, spinach laced with e-coli and chili loaded with botulism,” Durbin said at a news conference. “These are not isolated incidents and are the result of an outdated, underfunded and overwhelmed food-safety system.”

The measure, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, is one of several competing proposals being developed by lawmakers to rework food regulation and oversight. The approach that wins out will reshape the $646 billion U.S. food industry, which includes Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., the world’s largest grain processor, and Kraft Foods Inc., the world’s second-largest foodmaker, behind Nestle SA of Switzerland.



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