Federal food safety bill tangled up in procedural mess

WHAT: Food safety legislation that passed the Senate by a commanding margin is now threatened by a procedural mistake.

WHAT HAPPENED: The largely bipartisan Senate bill appeared to be headed for quick passage in the House, but it contains fees that are considered tax provisions, which under congressional rules are supposed to originate in the House. A Senate aide said the problem was caused by a misunderstanding between Senate and House staff.

WHY ITS OUTRAGEOUS: The bill would increase Food and Drug Administration inspections of food facilities and give the agency broader authority to order a recall, which is critical after recent widespread outbreaks of salmonella and E. coli in peanuts, eggs and produce. Time-wasting mistakes like this by lawmakers should not be tolerated when it comes to important public safety issues.

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