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Senate clears bill to tighten food safety. Will House go along?

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The House approved a food safety bill by a 2 to 1 margin in July 2009, and House leaders on Tuesday vowed to move the Senate bill to a vote instead of quibbling in conference over differences between the House and Senate versions of the law.

After recent recalls of tainted eggs, spinach, and peanut butter, 90 percent of Americans say the government needs more control over food safety, according to a Pew poll.

After the Senate vote, President Obama applauded the outcome. "This legislation ensures more frequent inspections of food manufacturing facilities and will require these facilities to take preventative actions to reduce the risks of outbreaks and foodborne illness," he said in a statement from the White House. "I urge the House – which has previously passed legislation demonstrating its strong commitment to making our food supply safer – to act quickly on this critical bill, and I applaud the work that was done to ensure its broad bipartisan passage in the Senate."

The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta says the US food supply is one of the safest in the world. Even so, says the CDC, food-borne illnesses result in more than 300,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths each year.

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