The Senate this week provided a strong and bipartisan 73-25 vote to pass S. 510, the Food Safety Modernization Act, and the House is up next to consider the bill. This is important legislation that can and should be enacted into law during the current lame-duck session of Congress.

The National Association of Manufacturers and other trade associations sent a letter to House leadership on Tuesday urging quick passage. Excerpt:

Strong food-safety legislation will reduce the risk of contamination and provide FDA with the resources and authorities the agency needs to help make prevention the focus of our food safety strategies. Among other things, S. 510 requires food companies to develop a food safety plan, improves the safety of imported food and food ingredients, and adopts a risk-based approach to inspection.

Manufacturers believe that the legislation strikes the right balance of additional authorities and resources for the Food and Drug Administration. Consumers should have confidence in our food safety and surveillance system and this legislation will further improve it.

Swift passage is also crucial to give companies clarity about the regulatory environment they will be facing in food manufacturing and processing, so that investments can be made in new technology and facilities. Without passage of this law, the industry will face continuing uncertainty which creates havoc for business planning and investment. One of the many elements necessary for economic recovery is regulatory certainty. Congress has the ability to provide a measure of that before it adjourns.

Rosario Palmieri is the National Association of Manufacturers vice president for infrastructure, legal and regulatory policy.