President Obama on Monday proposed creating a food safety agency to better protect the food supply, which has been rocked by a number of high-profile incidents in recent years.
The Obama administration would combine the food safety responsibilities of the Agriculture Department and the Food and Drug Administration under one roof, with the possibility of absorbing another dozen or so agencies throughout the federal government that have some degree of responsibility. The new agency would be included within the Department of Health and Human Services, which already houses the FDA.
Currently, most safety and inspection duties are the responsibility of two agencies: the Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which is in charge of meat, poultry and processed eggs, and the FDA, which is responsible for much of the rest that encompasses about 80% of the food supply.
Food-borne illnesses strike an estimated 46 million people — about one in six — in the United States each year, killing 3,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Monday February 2, 2015/ USA Today / United States.