The Senate passed a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s food safety rules today, with 15 Republicans joining Democrats in a 73-25 vote. The bill, which is in part a reaction to the tainted egg, peanut butter, and spinach scandals of the recent past, gives the FDA a lot more power to police foods, in the hopes of catching unsafe products before they can sicken consumers.
Farms with less than $500,000 in sales who sell most of their food locally won’t be subject to the new regulations, but critics complain that such small outfits have been responsible for several recent food recalls. Food safety advocates prefer the House version of the bill, which lacked the exemptions and provided more money for inspections. But because there’s little time left in the session to reconcile the House and Senate versions, the House is considering simply passing the Senate version to speed things up, the New York Times reports. (Read more FDA stories.)