Trump Wants USDA Charged with Food Safety
President Donald J. Trump wants to consolidate federal food safety under a single agency housed in the USDA, not the FDA, which would be renamed the “Federal Drug Administration” and continue with its focus on drugs, medical devices, biologics, tobacco, dietary supplements, and cosmetics.
According to a story in Food Safety News, “USDA is well poised to house the Federal Food Safety Agency,” Trump’s new proposal, released last week, says. “USDA is a strong leader in food safety; has a thorough understanding of food safety risks and issues all along the farm to fork continuum, and many agencies with USDA focus on food safety.”
The FDA along with USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) are the two top federal food safety agencies now. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assists with foodborne outbreak investigations, but does not have responsibility for food safety rules or enforcement of them.
“There are many examples of how illogical our fragmented and sometimes duplicative food safety system can be,” says the report.
“For example: while FSIS has regulatory responsibility for the safety of liquid eggs, FDA has regulatory responsibility for the safety of eggs while they are inside their shells; FDA regulates cheese pizza; but if there is pepperoni on top, it falls under the jurisdiction of FSIS; FDA regulates closed-faced meat sandwiches, while FSIS regulates open-faced meat sandwiches.”
The report notes that USDA’s ARS spends $112 million “on in-house food safety research, and ARS scientists work with both FSIS and FDA to help develop research priorities and food safety practices.”
Other USDA food safety programs involve managing wildlife on farms, monitoring animal health, collecting pesticide residue data on fruits and vegetables, and working with the states.