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Senate passes bill giving FDA new powers in food regulation

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday afforded the Food and Drug Administration new powers in regulating food, according to published reports, with the passing of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act by a vote of 73-25 (with two abstentions).

The legislation would grant the FDA new powers to recall foods and increase inspections.

A similar House version was approved earlier this year, and the Obama administration has indicated they will sign the bill into law. However there is a limited window to reconcile the House and Senate versions before the new Congress assumes control, so the Senate’s passage of the bill does not necessarily mean the act will be signed into law.

And while most of the coverage regarding the bill focuses on tighter regulations for foods like peanut butter and spinach, the bill also impacts dietary supplements, which are regulated as foods by the FDA. “[The Council for Responsible Nutrition] and its member companies support this bill because of the added enforcement tools it would provide to the FDA and the extra protections it would provide for consumers,” stated Steve Mister, CRN president and CEO. “The dietary supplement industry … is committed to supporting efforts that will help ensure consumers have access to safe and high-quality dietary supplement products. It is imperative that the FDA has the tools it needs to help protect our nation’s food supply, including dietary supplements. This bill is critical.”

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