The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -President Barack Obama says a food safety bill passed by the House will be a "major step forward."

He said it will help modernize the nation's food safety system and protect consumers from illnesses caused by food. The bill passed Thursday would require more government inspections and oversight of food manufacturers.

It also would give the Food and Drug Administration new authority to order recalls of contaminated foods, and require the agency to develop a system to better trace illnesses caused by that tainted food. A recent outbreak of salmonella in peanuts killed at least nine people.

The Senate must act on the bill.