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The US General Accounting Office (GAO) has called for a single food safety agency that would consolidate and streamline functions held today by both the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Calling the current setup a "patchwork system" incapable of dealing with food safety and security issues. Lawrence J. Dyckman, director of natural resources and environment for the GAO, told the House Government Reform Committee's subcommittee on agency organization that USDA and FDA don;lt feel like they have clear authority in food security areas. And he said, the system gets confused when it allows the USDA to manage the system that identified that single cow in the US that had mad cow disease, but FDA is in charge of containing the disease through the management of cattle feed issues.

Dyckman said that if a new agency isn’t created, then Congress should consider consolidating food safety issues under the umbrella of FDA.
KC's View:
We would remind everybody that FMI's Tim Hammonds made this same proposal several years ago, long before there were concerns about terrorism and food safety. He didn’t get a lot of takers then, though we agreed with him almost as soon as he said it.

The current system just doesn't seem conducive to maximum efficiency and effectiveness. Just because it isn’t broken doesn’t mean you can't make it better.