The Senate on Tuesday approved the biggest overhaul to the nation’s food safety laws since the 1930s. The 73-to-25 vote gives vast new authorities to the Food and Drug Administration, places new responsibilities on farmers and food companies to prevent contamination, and — for the first time – sets safety standards for imported foods, a growing part of the American diet.
The legislation follows a spate of national outbreaks of food poisoning involving products as varied as eggs, peanuts and spinach in which thousands of people were sickened and more than a dozen died.
The measure passed with support from Democrats and Republicans, one of the few pieces of legislation to bridge differences in an otherwise sharply divided body. The House approved a more stringent version of the bill more than a year ago.