Food safety bill passes House

Dec. 22, 2010 at 12:40 AM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- A bill that would shift the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to preventing food-borne illness received final legislative passage Tuesday.

The FDA Food Safety and Modernization Act would require food processing plants to draw up safety plans, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said in an announcement. High-risk imported foods would have to be certified.

As many as 76 million people in the United States become sick from food-borne illness every year, with 325,000 ill enough to require hospitalization and 5,000 dying, Durbin said.

"This bill will have a dramatic impact on the way the FDA operates -- providing it with more resources for inspection, mandatory recall authority, and the technology to trace an outbreak back to its source," Durbin said. "I am proud of the work we have done, but our vigilance must continue."

The bill passed the House 215 to 144, The New York Times reported. President Barack Obama has said he expects to sign it.

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