President Barack Obama is proposing the establishment of a single food safety agency. The administration’s proposed fiscal year 2016 budget would give the president broad reorganization authority to consolidate the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Food & Drug Administration’s food safety functions into a single agency within the Department of Health and Human Services.
The new agency would also coordinate with state and local health departments, currently handled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new food safety agency would pursue a modern, science-based food safety regulatory regime drawing on the best practices of the FSIS and the FDA, with strong enforcement and recall authority. The Consumers Federation of America said “HHS is a massive organization. A new food safety agency would be lost among the other priorities of the department, and would likely not receive the recognition or resources necessary for it to be.” Congress will have to approve the administration’s proposal. Legislation in the past proposing a single food agency has not garnered Congressional support.