The US Senate has passed a food safety bill for the second time that will give Washington new powers to increase inspections of food processing facilities and force companies to recall tainted food.

The bill was passed for the first time last month but a procedural problem meant the bill violated a constitutional provision that called for any new taxes to originate in the House rather than in the Senate.

The version of the legislation passed on Sunday (19 December) is an amended version to avoid any similar snags. The new law will increase the number of inspections at food facilities, with inspections every three years for high risk foods as well as allowing the US Food and Drug Administration to create new standards in the safety of fresh produce, collect fees for non-compliance with recalls or re-inspections.

Nevada Senator Harry Reid said yesterday: “Our food safety system has not been updated in almost a century. Families in Nevada and across America should never have to worry about whether the food they put on their table is safe.”

He added: “This is a common-sense issue with broad bipartisan support. Tonight we unanimously passed a measure to improve on our current food safety system by giving the FDA the resources it needs to keep up with advances in food production and marketing, without unduly burdening farmers and food producers.”