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No Vote on Food Safety Bill before November, Reid Says

Sep 17, 2010

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) (pictured) announced yesterday that the Senate would not consider pending food safety legislation before the mid-term elections in November. He cited objections focused on funding, raised by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), as the reason for the delay.

In the past two weeks, IDFA signed two letters to Congressional leaders expressing support for S. 510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, and urging legislators to take up the bill immediately. IDFA and the National Milk Producers Federation sent a joint letter on September 8 to Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Mike Enzi (R-WY), ranking member. {link to PDF} That letter detailed the dairy industry's excellent food safety record and expressed support for the pending bill.

Yesterday, IDFA joined 21 other food and business organizations in signing and sending a letter to Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). That letter also supported the bipartisan bill that came out of the HELP committee and urged the Senate to "keep the momentum going for enactment of landmark food-safety legislation."

IDFA has been supportive of the Senate bill, originally introduced by Durbin in March 2009, and has worked with the HELP Committee to seek improvements in the legislation.

Just one month ago, a bipartisan group of senators released a compromise package of changes to the bill. At the time, IDFA believed the agreement would increase the likelihood that food safety legislation would be sent to President Obama before Congress adjourns for the year. Read more here.

If and when the Senate does pass a food safety bill, it would still need to be conferenced with a similar bill that passed the House of Representatives in July of last year.



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