Food Safety Remains On GAO High-Risk List
Shows 15 Agencies are 14 Too Many; Time for a Single Food Agency
WASHINGTON, DC– Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) issued the following statement on a new report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which continues to include federal oversight of food safety as “high risk” to the economy and public health and safety.
“Given the sheer number of foodborne illnesses and outbreaks, it is no surprise that federal oversight of food safety continues to be included on the GAO’s list of high risk areas. You need to look no further than the current Salmonella outbreak that has sickened 18 people in five states to know that food safety deserves to be on this list and it is time for Congress to act. Since the GAO first added food safety to the list of high risk areas in 2007, they have highlighted the fragmented oversight of food safety and recommended the establishment of a government-wide plan to address this critical problem. That plan remains elusive.
“The fragmented nature of our federal food safety system is well established and underscores the need for a single food safety agency. Right now there is not one single person in charge and that puts us all at risk of getting sick from preventable illnesses. I will again introduce legislation to establish a single food safety agency, which would ensure that there is one person the public can hold accountable when outbreaks occur.
“Given the clear need to reorganize our food safety system to protect the public health, this bill is absolutely necessary. It will ensure a coordinated strategy for preventing and responding to foodborne illnesses. And it will go a long way to addressing the shortcomings identified yet again by the GAO that place Americans’ health at risk.”
DeLauro will introduce her legislation to establish a single food safety agency shortly; more information will be available on it at that time.