The action in the House sets the stage for the Senate to take up the issue, but probably not until the fall. The bill passed the House with overwhelming support from Democrats, but Republicans were split, with 54 voting in favor and 122 against. Democrats and some Republicans had worked closely in writing the legislation and advocates said that they expected similar cooperation on the issue in the Senate.
The measure would increase the frequency of food-processing-plant inspections, requiring the FDA to make an inspection every 6 to 12 months of facilities it deemed high-risk while lower-risk processing plants would be inspected at least once every three years and warehouses for packaged foods could go up to five years between inspections.
To help finance the inspections, the bill would impose a yearly fee of $500 to be paid by food-processing facilities, with a $175,000 cap for large companies with multiple facilities. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the fee would generate $1.4 billion over the next five years, covering about 40 % of the FDA’s costs for carrying out the expanded inspections and other measures in the bill.