According to press reports, an FDA requested panel says food safety in particular is in crisis. (Full Report) Questions about the FDA’s effectiveness have been underscored by alarming headlines in recent years — including E. coli in spinach, deadly chemicals in pet foods, toxic toothpaste and the heart-damaging side effects of drugs. The report says Congress has given the FDA more responsibilities over the past two decades, but no funds to cover the extra work. Meanwhile, the agency hasn’t been able to recruit the sophisticated scientific expertise needed to oversee complex medicines and food. The report says the FDA needs at least an extra 350 million dollars to address drug safety, and 450 million more dollars to improve food safety. Actually, the same holds true for the USDA. Just in the last two months we have seen the USDA move slowly on the Topps recall, putting people at risk, and then we see them announce one day that the USDA is getting tough on Canadian E. coli imports, only to turn around quietly and stop testing a week later.