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Report: New Administrator, New Agency Part of Blueprint to Overhaul U.S. Food Safety System

March 26, 2009
by Daniela Feldman
CQ Healthbeat

The Obama administration should appoint a top food safety administrator to oversee and safeguard the nation's food supply, according to a report released Wednesday by Trust for America's Health (TFAH).

The report also proposes the creation of a separate Food Safety Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to unify "food safety policy, inspection and enforcement activities currently spread throughout" the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In addition, no official within FDA "whose full-time job is food safety has line authority over all food safety functions," the TFAH said in a news release. The report also recommends consolidating food safety leadership within the FDA.

"FDA certainly needs a modern food safety law and more resources, but to make good use of these tools, HHS needs a unified and elevated management structure for food safety that can implement a science- and risk-based food safety program dedicated to preventing food-borne illness," Mike Taylor, a research professor at the School of Public Health at The George Washington University, said during a conference call to release the report.

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