U.S. Senate makes it one step closer to eating safe food

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Your food got a lot safer yesterday -- theoretically, at least.

By a convincing 73 to 25 vote, the Senate passed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which give the FDA more power to mandate recalls and do more frequent inspections.

"Recent major food recalls, including the egg recall, highlight the need for this long overdue legislation to give Colorado parents some peace of mind knowing the food they put on their tables doesn't put their families in harm's way," Senator Michael Bennet said in a release responding to the passage. "After nearly a year of needless delays, we have finally moved forward on this bipartisan bill that will protect Colorado consumers and finally bring food safety in this country into the 21st century."

An amendment to the act grants exceptions for small farms from some of the regulatory paperwork -- known as Hazard Analysis in Critical Control Point, or, HACCP -- that will be required for larger food producers. Bennet helped push this amendment, winning the approval of local leaders like Steve Ela of Ela Family Farms.

"We care about our customers and always want the food they receive to be healthful and safe," Ela says. "This bill is an important step in increasing confidence in our food supply. Senator Bennet's amendment helps to make sure that any regulations are appropriate to the scale and type of farm. It will help innovative, small and moderate farms like ours continue to compete and produce high-quality, safe food without overregulation."

Ann Cooper, , Boulder-based Renegade Lunch Lady who's working on a national campaign to improve eating habits, had been watching the bill closely. "It's really not perfect," she says, "but it's the best thing we have and we need to pass the bill. It's a year and two months overdue."

Cooper applauded the measure's passage by the Senate -- it now goes to the House -- and says she's now looking forward to the approval of the Child Nutrition Reauthorization.

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