The U.S. Senate has approved the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (S.510), by a vote of 73 to 25.

A different version of the bill was passed by the House in July of 2009, but was not picked up by the Senate until the middle of this year. The bill addresses three main issues: improving the capacity to prevent food safety problems, improving the capacity to detect and respond to problems and improving the safety of imported food. Miscellaneous provisions address food safety funding, whistleblower protections, jurisdiction and compliance.  

More specifically, the Act calls for better preventative control measures by manufacturers, more frequent facility inspections and greater FDA authority over recalls. "We are one step closer to having critically important new tools to protect our nation's food supply and keep consumers safe," said President Barack Obama.

S.510 is the first significant change proposed to the federal food safety regulatory system in over 70 years. The House and Senate must both agree on a version of the bill before President Obama can sign it into law.