President Obama wants all food safety regulation handled by a single new federal agency.
Currently the Department of Agriculture oversees meat, poultry and egg production, while the Food and Drug Administration handles most other foods including produce and fish. U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley says though, in theory, he supports consolidating federal responsibilities to one department, he prefers food inspection to stay under the purview of the USDA.
"I’m not convinced at this point that the USDA should be excluded from the food inspection process, considering they have many years of experience and expertise across the entire agriculture chain," Grassley says. "I think if you move it out of there, you're going to put safety in jeopardy and then jeopardize the health of consumers."
The proposal puts the new food inspection agency under the auspice of the Department of Health and Human Services, which currently houses the FDA. President Obama says this split in food safety responsibilities between the FDA and USDA causes confusion.