President Obama Proposes Stand-Alone Food Safety Agency

Under the new proposal, USDA and FDA would no longer have jurisdiction over food safety
President Obama Proposes Stand-Alone Food Safety Agency
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After recent outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, the president is looking to take action.

As part of his new 2016 budget proposal, President Obama has presented a plan to consolidate the food safety inspection duties that are currently split between the FDA and the USDA into an entirely new agency within the Department of Health and Human Services, according to Reuters. The sole purpose of the agency would be to inspect all domestic and imported food and drink that makes its way onto U.S. shelves. The proposed federal agency would be on call to decrease the large amount of foodborne illness cases diagnosed every year; right now, one in six Americans contract a foodborne illness annually.

"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 proposal explained.

The new presidential proposal comes on the heels of two Democratic Congress members similarly urging the creation of a single food safety agency under the Safe Food Act of 2015. The bill is designed to improve food safety, as more and more food is being shipped overseas.

The bill, like the rest of the proposed federal budget, would have to go through Republican-controlled Congress, where it is likely to meet opposition. 

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