Obama to sign bill to improve nation's food safety

Food Borne Diseases Posted on

In an indication of coming tensions with the GOP-controlled House, President Barack Obama on Tuesday was signing into law an overhaul of the nation's food safety system as Republicans talked of withholding $1.4 billion needed to put the new requirements into place.

Congress passed the bill at the end of the year after several serious outbreaks of E. coli and salmonella poisoning in peanuts, eggs and produce in the past few years. It would increase inspections at food processing facilities and force recalls of tainted products.

Obama made improving food safety a priority shortly after taking office in 2009. But at a cost of $1.4 billion in new funding over five years, some Republicans who are looking to cut federal spending say the new law may be unaffordable.

"I think we'll look very carefully at the funding before we support $1.4 billion," said Rep. Jack Kingston, who hopes to become chairman of the agriculture subcommittee of the House panel that helps spend the government's money.

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