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The US Senate voted 73-25 Tuesday to approve legislation giving increased power to the Food and Drug Administration to regulate food safety. The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, already passed by the House of Representatives in July 2009, gives the FDA greater authority to inspect food production facilities and to issue mandatory safety recalls of food products. This significantly changes the role of the FDA in product recalls as the agency currently has the power to request voluntary recalls only.

The vote comes months after a widely publicized recall of eggs from two huge Iowa farms that were contaminated with salmonella. More than 1,500 people became ill after eating the contaminated eggs. Since the House passed the bill last July, the FDA requested voluntary food recalls affecting 85 companies. Consumer advocates say that if the FDA had been able to prevent these incidents through more rigorous inspections and earlier mandatory recalls, many of the 1,850-plus cases of food-borne illness associated with these recalls could have been prevented.

Consumer advocate groups have been pushing strongly for food safety reform over the past few years, and some believe that the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act may pave the way for greater consumer protection from defective product injuries and defective drug injuries.

If you or a loved one has been sickened by contaminated food or another defective product near Mobile, Alabama, please contact Long & Long today to schedule a complimentary consultation with our experienced product liability attorneys.

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