Senate Republicans voted Thursday to approve a bill to give the Food and Drug Administration the authority to approve genetically modified foods, paving the way for a federal Food and Drugs Administration that will regulate the foods and ingredients that Americans consume.
The Senate voted 52-48 to approve the measure, which passed on a party-line vote.
The measure would allow FDA, under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, to approve food products and food ingredients that are genetically modified.
It also gives the FDA the authority, under certain conditions, to permit the labeling of foods with ingredients that have been modified by genetic engineering.
The Food and Tobacco Act allows for FDA to issue guidelines and regulations for foods that have undergone genetically modified processing.
The bill also allows the FDA to review applications for genetically modified ingredients.
The vote came two days after a federal appeals court blocked a law that would have allowed manufacturers of genetically modified corn and soybeans to sell the crops in the U.S. The FDA had proposed that the law be overturned, arguing that the bill is preempted by the Food Act.
The agency has been working with the Food & Drug Administration and other agencies to update its process for approving genetically modified food.
In the end, the House of Representatives passed the measure on a 24-18 vote.
A similar bill was rejected by the Senate in July, but the legislation would have required FDA to submit a final report within two years about whether or not the food product is safe and effective.
The FDA’s approval process for food products would be similar to that for cosmetics and drugs.
Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2015, which would have given the FDA greater oversight of food safety, allowing the agency to conduct safety studies and make public recommendations.
Despite the opposition of many Democrats, President Donald Trump has consistently supported the FDA’s process for making safety determinations for food.
In March, Trump said in a speech that he supported FDA’s ability to approve foods that are engineered to contain new genetic material that could be toxic or potentially harmful to humans.
“We have to have that safety,” Trump said.
“We have a safety problem in this country, and I want to do something about it.”
The House bill is expected to be voted on as soon as next week.