Presently, 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. 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 2015 budget proposes consolidating the Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and all of FDA’s food safety oversight (plus about a dozen other agencies) 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 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 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.
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