WASHINGTON – The biggest U.S. food-safety overhaul in more than 70 years won Senate passage yesterday as lawmakers sought to curb food-borne illnesses that cost the nation an estimated $152 billion a year.

The FDA would gain more power to police food companies under the bill that passed in a 73-25 vote. The measure, backed by the food industry, public-health groups and consumer advocates, adds inspections and lets the FDA force recalls, rather than relying on companies to voluntarily remove contaminated foods from store shelves.

“It’s shocking to think that the last comprehensive overhaul of the food-safety system was in 1938,” said Sen. Tom Harkin.