Obama Signs Food Safety Bill

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Tuesday signed the Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act, although some Congressional leaders have questioned its $1.4 billion cost and have indicated they may seek to block funding.

WASHINGTON — President Obama on Tuesday signed the Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act, although some Congressional leaders have questioned its $1.4 billion cost and have indicated they may seek to block funding.

"When one considers the record deficits our country faces and the renewed focus on fiscal restraint in the U.S. House of Representatives, it's going to be very difficult to find the money to pay for implementation of the bill," a spokesman for Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, who sits on the appropriations subcommittee that deals with the FDA, was quoted as saying in the Los Angeles Times.

Some industry associations have long supported the law's passage, citing its emphasis on prevention and increased scrutiny of imports.

“This law will enhance the safety of our food supply by requiring every food producing company to have a written food safety plan, by providing the Food and Drug Administration the authority to recall products, by recognizing third-party certification plans, and by adopting a risk-based approach to food safety inspections," said Leslie G. Sarasin, president and chief executive officer, Food Marketing Institute.

"Working together, we all will play an important role to prevent foodborne illnesses and strengthen the safety of our food supply.” Pamela G. Baliey, president and CEO, Grocery Manufacturers Association, also thanked Obama for his support. “Today’s bill signing marks a historic moment for our country – as it represents the most comprehensive reform of our nation’s food safety laws in more than 70 years. This landmark legislation provides FDA with the resources and authorities the agency needs to help strengthen our nation’s food safety system by making prevention the focus of our food safety strategies, and will help restore the public’s faith in the safety and security of the food supply.”