By MARY CLARE JALONICK (AP) – 7 hours ago
WASHINGTON — A Republican senator is threatening to hold up food safety legislation that would give the Food and Drug Administration more power to prevent outbreaks, saying Democrats must find a way to pay for it.
Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma says the bill, which has stalled in the Senate for more than a year, adds to the deficit and expands the power of an already troubled agency.
Advocates for the bill say it is crucial to strengthen the nation’s toothless food safety oversight and would help prevent large outbreaks of tainted food.
Coburn’s office said Wednesday the senator will object to bringing up the bill if his concerns aren’t addressed. His objections are a major blow to supporters’ chances of passing the legislation this year.
The legislation would give the agency more power to recall tainted products, require more inspections of food processing facilities and require producers to follow stricter standards for keeping food safe. Currently, the FDA does not have the authority to order a recall and must negotiate recalls with the affected producers. The agency rarely inspects many food facilities and farms, visiting some every decade or so and others not at all.