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Will Egg Recall Scramble Up Action on Food Safety Bill?

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The recent egg recall, due to an aggressive outbreak of Salmonella, only served to increase the public pressure on the Senate to pass S510, the Food Safety Modernization Act. This high-profile recall was discussed Wednesday in a hearing before the House Energy & Commerce Committee.

Despite the public outcry, the 225-page Food Safety Bill still may not have enough momentum to win final passage. Although the House passed the bill over a year ago, it stalled in Senate as the debates over health-care and financial reform took precedence. Although those two specific issues have long been dealt with, this piece of legislation now faces obstacles such as cost, timing, and certain concerns raised by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK).

The Congressional Budget Office has suggested the bill would cost approximately $1.4 billion over five years. This, coupled with the limited number of legislative days left before Congress lets out for election and protests from Senator Coburn on the cost and implementation of the measure, has supporters of the bill questioning whether or not S510 will come to a vote this year at all.

Under the legislation, the Food and Drug Administration would have the authority to issue mandatory recalls of food products and would also allow them to conduct more frequent inspections and impose more stringent standards on foods.

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