House passes food-safety measure

The vote was 283-142. From the New York Times account, which quotes four named supporters of the bill and no opponents, you’d barely get any sense of why the bill might be considered controversial. But the San Francisco Chronicle, L.A. Times, Des Moines Register and Omaha World Herald have all reported on what the first-named called the “uproar among small farmers”. McClatchy’s summary confusingly suggests that farms “in part” are not covered by the bill (those already regulated by USDA won’t be subject to the FDA), but it does establish clearly why the main impacts of the bill are likely to be felt gradually rather than immediately:

The bill orders federal agencies to prepare certain food safety regulations. But these highly detailed regulations will be years in the making.

Notably, the bill gives the Department of Health and Human Services three years to establish “science-based standards for the safe growing, harvesting, packing, sorting, transporting and holding of raw agricultural commodities.” These standards could cover everything from manure control and employee hygiene to water quality.

Federal officials must also prepare regulations establishing a tracing system to “identify each person who grows, produces, manufacturers, processes, packs, transports, holds or sells” dangerous food.

More: Greg Conko, CEI, Carter Wood, ShopFloor; on the outcry from organic producers, Reuters and Taylor Blanchard/Charlotte Examiner.