New food safety bill awaits House approval

WASHINGTON It was the second time the Senate passed the $1.4 billion bill, which would give the government new powers to inspect food processing plants and force companies to recall contaminated food. The legislation also places stricter standards on imported foods and requires larger producers to follow tougher rules for keeping food safe.

The chamber passed the bill for the first time three weeks ago, but it was caught in a constitutional snag when senators mistakenly included tax provisions that are by law supposed to originate in the House.

The bill comes after several national recalls of beef, eggs, produce and other tainted foods. Recent domestic outbreaks of E. coli and salmonella have exposed a lack of resources and authority at the /*Food and Drug Administration*/ as the embattled agency struggled to contain and trace the contaminated products.

The bill would emphasize prevention so the FDA could try to stop outbreaks before they begin.

The House originally tried to rectify the Senate mistake by including the legislation in a year-end budget bill. Senators also included food safety in their version of the budget bill, but the spending legislation hit a roadblock when Republicans insisted it not include any add-ons.

The Associated Press Contributed to this report.

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