Sens. Carper, Coons Statement on Passage of Food Safety Bill

WASHINGTON – Today, Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons (both D-Del.) voted for The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (S.510), which passed the Senate by a bipartisan vote of 73 to 25.  


The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act amends the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), to give new authority to the US Food and Drug Administration to oversee the safety and security of our nation’s food. Although FFDCA has been amended since it was first passed in 1938 to include provisions such as nutrition labeling and regulation of pharmaceutical drugs, the law’s provisions designed to oversee food safety and security have not been significantly updated in over 70 years. The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act provides FDA with new tools and resources to help prevent food-borne illness and improve food safety and security. These provisions include: giving FDA the authority to recall food when firms fail to voluntarily recall their products; establishing a national trace-back system to enhance food surveillance; requiring food importers to perform food safety supplier verification activities; expanding food facility registration laws requiring all food facilities (excluding farms) to register with the FDA biennially; and, requiring all registered domestic facilities (excluding farms) to identify known or reasonably foreseeable hazards and implement preventative controls to minimize hazards. 


"It is high time that we, here in the Senate, passed the Food Safety Bill," said Sen. Carper. "Our food safety laws have not been updated in over 70 years, despite the occurrence of several alarming food-borne illnesses and in some cases, even deaths. This important legislation finally gives the Food and Drug Administration the tools and resources it needs to better protect the public health of America’s and Delaware’s families. This bipartisan bill strengthens the system we currently have in place to oversee the safety of our food by providing FDA with new authority to help prevent food-borne illnesses and improve food safety and security. I am encouraged by the strong bipartisan nature of this bill, and I look forward to continuing to work on future bipartisan legislation as we gear up to start the 112th Congress."


"I’m pleased to join my fellow Senators on a truly bipartisan basis to pass the Food Safety and Modernization Act," said Sen. Coons. "This important bill provides the FDA with resources necessary to strike an agreeable balance between requiring tougher inspections and promoting prevention while not overly burdening small farmers and providers. Today’s vote demonstrates that this isn’t a Democratic or Republican issue, but one that can bring lawmakers together to better protect the health of Delawareans and Americans."