Well, it did and it didn't. What I mean is that, yes, the Senate did pass the Food Safety Modernization Act (S510) by a sizeable majority a few days ago, but no, it didn't really pass it. Bottom line - it has to go for another vote because of (politely called) "a technicality." A less polite description(as my husband would say) is "a screwup."
Here's the American Public Health Association summary of what happened (I can't improve on it):
"After Senate passage of the bill, House lawmakers from the Ways and Means Committee discovered revenue raising provisions that would raise fees for various enforcement measures were included in the Senate bill. The constitution requires that all revenue raising measures originate in the House of Representatives. House leaders are working to try to identify options to move the bill forward including potentially attaching it to a House bill and sending it back to the Senate for a final vote. However a potential road block awaits as all 42 Senate Republicans recently sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid vowing to block any future legislation until all of the expiring Bush tax cuts are renewed and all FY 2011 appropriations bills have been passed by the Senate."
Frankly, I find it very hard to understand how they missed such an obvious issue - unintentionally, that is. And I don't like the blackmail either. Our politicians are playing with the American public's health and lives. The current basic food safety legislation dates back over 80 years. Our food supply has changed, hazards in our food have changed - and other countries, such as Canada and the EU nations have updated their key laws ages ago.
No, this is not Big Brother telling us what we can and cannot eat. Such regulations exist in all modern countries, and much of what this law is proposing is actually already taking place, except that our government agencies have very little clout and money to enforce food safety standards.
Let's move it!