President Trump Proposes Single Food Safety Agency

June 28, 2018

Excerpt from Food Safety News, June 22, 2018

President Trump wants to consolidate federal food safety under a single agency, housed in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Former President Obama also wanted to consolidate food safety, only he preferred housing it in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Food and Drug Administration.    However, Obama failed because Congress did not extend him the power to reorganize government. Trump is picking up where Obama left off, seeking executive reorganization authority under his Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century” project.

This week, President Trump unveiled his administration’s plans to reorganize the federal government, including the creation of a new Federal Food Safety Agency.  The administration cites 40 years of reporting from the Government Accountability Office that points to “inconsistent oversight, ineffective coordination, and inefficient use of resources,” due to what it calls “fragmented” federal oversight by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The administration also refers to the current U.S. food safety system as “duplicative.” For example: while FSIS has regulatory responsibility for the safety of liquid eggs, FDA has regulatory responsibility for the safety of eggs while they are inside of their shells; FDA regulates cheese pizza, but if there is pepperoni on top, it falls under the jurisdiction of FSIS; FDA regulates closed-faced meat sandwiches, while FSIS regulates open-faced meat sandwiches.  To address this, FSIS and the food safety functions of the FDA would be consolidated into a single agency within USDA called the Federal Food Safety Agency.  The likelihood of congress giving the President the power to reorganize government is not seen as favorable.

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