"The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Thursday that could significantly delay implementation of sweeping new food safety legislation designed to reduce foodborne illnesses."
"While new amendments were not allowed, the bill included elements from a previous version, including a provision introduced by Republican Dan Benishek of Michigan, that would delay introduction of the Food Safety Modernization Act, which was signed into law in January 2011.
Benishek is demanding that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is charged with implementing the food safety law and is still in the process of discussing its implications with the agricultural community, conduct an additional cost and scientific analysis.
He says farmers in his district will be hurt by the law, which, among other things, would require regular testing of agricultural water to monitor for contamination.
"It stops the food safety bill in its tracks because you don't know how long it will take the FDA to do this study," said Sandra Eskin, director of food safety at The Pew Charitable Trusts. "Congress worked really hard at getting the food safety act passed and this amendment really undermines that law."