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Washington - Obama Proposes New Agency To Make Americans' Food Safer

Published on: February 2, 2015 10:07 PM
By: AP
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US President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the FY2016 budget at the Department of Homeland Security, in Washington DC, USA, 02 February 2015. EPAUS President Barack Obama delivers remarks on the FY2016 budget at the Department of Homeland Security, in Washington DC, USA, 02 February 2015. EPA

Washington - President Barack Obama wants to create a new government agency dedicated to keeping the nation’s food safe.

The proposal in the president’s budget released Monday comes after outbreaks of illnesses linked to chicken, eggs, peanuts and cantaloupe in recent years. More than a dozen federal agencies oversee food safety, and consumer advocates have long called for bringing all those functions together in a single home.

Currently, the Department of Agriculture oversees the safety and inspections of meat and processed eggs and the Food and Drug Administration oversees safety of most other foods. The split oversight is often complicated — the FDA would be responsible for the safety of a frozen cheese pizza, for example, but USDA takes over part of the duties if the pizza has meat on it.

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USDA inspects meat daily as it is processed, while the FDA generally conducts inspections every few years. And the two agencies share inspection duties at the border.

The budget proposes consolidating the Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and all of FDA’s food safety oversight into one new agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. The new agency also would coordinate with state and local health departments, a job that is now mostly handled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The budget says the current system’s “fractured oversight and disparate regulatory approaches” cause confusion. Consolidation “is an essential step to reforming the federal food safety system overall,” Obama’s budget says.

The administration said the agency would be based at HHS because food safety and foodborne outbreaks are public health concerns, which are consistent with the larger mission of the department.

The changes are likely to meet opposition on Capitol Hill. Many in the food industry have long opposed a shift, fearing increased oversight, and those companies have powerful allies in the new Republican Congress.

In 2010, Congress passed a sweeping food safety law that gave the government new powers to inspect processing plants, order recalls and impose stricter standards for imported foods. It also requires stricter food safety standards on farms and in manufacturing plants.

That law only applied to the Food and Drug Administration, which is still struggling to put the standards in place after pushback from some farmers and food companies.

The budget proposes an additional $301 million for the FDA to implement that law, though part of the money would come from user fees imposed on the food industry, an idea that has strong congressional oppsition.

The CDC estimates that there are 48 million foodborne illnesses a year from contaminated foods.



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Read Comments (10)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Feb 03, 2015 at 12:28 AM LiberalismIsADisease Says:

What we have isnt bringing this perah adom enough revenue?

2

 Feb 03, 2015 at 01:36 AM Fresser Says:

Maybe now the processed food industry, those who sell food in cans, bottles, plastic containers and other enclosed containers will come under regulation and inspection so that I won't find any more rat claws or roach legs in my food.

3

 Feb 03, 2015 at 06:59 AM SandmanNY Says:

Oy - if he's controlling it, it can't be good.

4

 Feb 03, 2015 at 08:24 AM bewhiskered Says:

Reply to #3  
SandmanNY Says:

Oy - if he's controlling it, it can't be good.

"Oy - if he's controlling it, it can't be good."

And, if you're posting, Cletus, it's no good either because of your rabid racism which you are too much of a coward to admit. He's black, he's President, and you should get a life already!

5

 Feb 03, 2015 at 09:03 AM blubluh Says:

If the problem with food safety is ambiguity of the authority of the FDA vs the USDA, then address that. Establishing yet another government agency is more likely to add to the bureaucratic nightmare.

6

 Feb 03, 2015 at 11:00 AM Anonymous Says:

I just don't get why conslidating services should cost 310 million? Shouldn't it save money? Won't it increase efficency?

7

 Feb 03, 2015 at 01:02 PM Rafuel Says:

Despite leftists' efforts to convince us that he is brilliant, Barack, who was admitted to prestigious schools by means of affirmative action, still can't figure out that we need economy, he believes we just need government.

8

 Feb 03, 2015 at 06:13 PM marcia Says:

Reply to #4  
bewhiskered Says:

"Oy - if he's controlling it, it can't be good."

And, if you're posting, Cletus, it's no good either because of your rabid racism which you are too much of a coward to admit. He's black, he's President, and you should get a life already!

He’s President, He’s Black, He’s a Male, He IS A FAILURE for No Other Reason Than He IS AWFUL. I don’t care What Color YOU ARE EITHER but You Are A User Of Race!

9

 Feb 03, 2015 at 06:14 PM marcia Says:

Reply to #4  
bewhiskered Says:

"Oy - if he's controlling it, it can't be good."

And, if you're posting, Cletus, it's no good either because of your rabid racism which you are too much of a coward to admit. He's black, he's President, and you should get a life already!

Now He Will Make Everything WE Eat…Halal...

10

 Feb 04, 2015 at 06:41 AM bewhiskered Says:

Reply to #8  
marcia Says:

He’s President, He’s Black, He’s a Male, He IS A FAILURE for No Other Reason Than He IS AWFUL. I don’t care What Color YOU ARE EITHER but You Are A User Of Race!

"I don’t care What Color YOU ARE EITHER but You Are A User Of Race!"

Aww! I got Marcia all upset. Yes, I may be a user AGAINST race, but you are a full rabid racist, who is too much of a coward to admit to it. And, you DO care what color the President is, or else, you wouldn't be leveling ambiguous and inconclusive charges against him, which is the only thing that bigots are capable of. Have a nice day.

11

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