The U.S. food supply, battered by a series of recalls, moved a step closer toward its first major safety overhaul in more than 70 years following a key vote in Congress last week. The Senate voted 74-25 to limit debate on the food safety bill, which clears the legislation for a final vote where it is expected to pass. There is no timetable for when that could occur, Reuters reports. The bill would give the Food and Drug Administration broad powers over recalls, increase the rate of plant inspections and boost access to food facility records. The House of Representatives passed a similar version of food reform legislation in July 2009.
The bill will not contain any provision banning the controversial plastics additive bisphenol-A. U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) had tried to get the chemical banned in all packaging, then pared the ban back to baby bottles and children’s sippy cups. Even that ban was left out of the final bill, which Feinstein attributed to lobbying by the American Chemistry Council, a plastics industry trade group.