Sector News

Obama proposes creation of stand-alone U.S. food safety agency

February 3, 2015
Food & Drink
(Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama has proposed bringing together the country’s food safety operations into one agency to better monitor food quality in a move that would reshape the Food and Drug Administration.
 
The proposal was put forward as part of the President’s 2016 budget plan. The new agency would combine the food safety responsibilities of the FDA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other agencies.
 
“A single Federal food safety agency would provide focused, centralized leadership, a primary voice on food safety standards and compliance with those standards, and clear lines of responsibility and accountability that will enhance both prevention of and responses to outbreaks of food-borne illnesses,” the budget proposal noted.
 
The President’s proposal reflects provisions in draft bill introduced last month by Democratic Senator Richard Durbin from Illinois and Representative Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat from Connecticut. The bill, introduced as the Safe Food Act of 2015, is designed to improve safety at a time more and more food is being sourced from overseas.
 
Each year, 48 million people, or 1 in 6 Americans, suffer from foodborne illness. More than 100,000 are hospitalized and thousands die, according to federal data.
 
In January 2011, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act was signed into law. The goal was to shift the focus of regulators to preventing contamination rather than just responding to it.
 
Michael Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine at the FDA, declined to say whether such a move would be supported by FDA officials.
 
“It depends on how it’s done,” he said.
 
While recognizing that food safety is fragmented, he said, the FDA will focus on implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act “while Congress considers what the President has proposed.”
 
Currently most of the responsibility for food safety lies with the FDA. The Department of Agriculture oversees meat, poultry and processed eggs.
 
The President’s proposal calls for a single agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency would be independent from the FDA and would be responsible for food safety inspections, enforcement, applied research and responses to food-poisoning outbreaks.
 
(Reporting by Toni Clarke in Washington; editing by Andrew Hay)

comments closed

Related News

December 3, 2022

AI central to Nestle’s innovation overhaul

Food & Drink

Nestle SA has accelerated its product development process by 60% since 2016, according to the company. The faster speed to market has been achieved through a restructuring of its research and development process. Now the company is investing in various forms of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to further improve its R&D process and generate better results.

December 3, 2022

Takeover on the horizon? Brenntag makes preliminary indication of interest for Univar Solutions

Food & Drink

German chemicals distributor Brenntag has confirmed potential takeover talks with US rival Univar Solutions and is understood to be debating the feasibility of a potential acquisition in the coming months. Univar Solutions confirms that it has received a preliminary indication of interest from Brenntag regarding a potential transaction.

December 3, 2022

Cargill announces purchase of Owensboro Grain Company

Food & Drink

Cargill has announced the acquisition of Owensboro Grain Company, a soybean processing facility and refinery located in Kentucky. The purchase of the Owensboro-based company will support Cargill’s efforts to “modernise and increase capacity across its North American oilseeds network to support growing demand for oilseeds driven by food, feed and renewable fuel markets”.