"The Senate passed a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s food safety system on Tuesday, after tainted eggs, peanut butter and spinach sickened thousands of people in the last few years and led major food makers to join consumer advocates in demanding stronger government oversight.
The legislation, which passed by a vote of 73 to 25, would greatly strengthen the Food and Drug Administration, an agency that in recent decades focused more on policing medical products than ensuring the safety of food. The bill is intended to keep unsafe foods from reaching markets and restaurants, where they can make people sick — a change from the current practice, which mainly involves cracking down after outbreaks occur.
Despite unusual bipartisan support on Capitol Hill and a strong push from the Obama administration, the bill could still die because there might not be enough time for the usual haggling between the Senate and the House, which passed its own version last year. Top House Democrats said Tuesday that they were considering simply passing the Senate version to speed approval but that no decision had been made."
Gardiner Harris and William Neuman report for the New York Times November 30, 2010.