The FDA ultimately traced the outbreak to the Peanut Corporation of America, but didn't catch the problem in the first place, because it's lacking legislative teeth and adequate resources, CBS News correspondent Thalia Assuras reports.
"The FDA has traditionally been a regulatory agency that responds when there are problems. And what we have recognized is that that's not good enough anymore," said Dr. Stephen Sundlof.
A Senate bill would change all that.
"The agency charged with protecting nearly 80 percent of our food supply in this nation simply can't keep up with the challenge. It's time that we make sure it can," said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.
The legislation would expand FDA access to food company records and tests, give it authority to order mandatory food recalls, and increase funding.
Lawmakers and critics say this bill is a step in the right direction, but a step that should have been taken years ago.
Latest from FDA on peanut products salmonella outbreak, related recalls.