A New Bill Would Take the F Out of FDA

July 27, 2022By Riëtte van Laack

A couple of weeks ago, Senator Durbin and Representative DeLauro introduced the Food Safety Administration Act.  The legislation would create the Food Safety Administration (FSA), a food safety agency that would incorporate FDA’s food safety and veterinary medicine centers and the Office of Regulatory Affairs’ food operations. According to a fact sheet related to the bill, the new agency would be under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  The new agency would not include the Food Safety Inspection Service of USDA (FSIS) or other federal agencies involved in regulating food.  The FSA is intended to bring “focused leadership and more accountability, [and] a unified structure.”  In addition, according to the fact sheet, “a full-time senior leader will strengthen oversight of the food supply and enhance the industry’s ability to operate effectively.”

For decades, lawmakers, including Mr. Durbin and Ms. DeLauro,  have introduced legislation to establish a single food agency. Proponents of such legislation have argued that having numerous federal agencies regulate foods is inefficient, and that it would be best to have a single food agency.  The latest bill does not address these inefficiencies and seems more feasible (merging of the numerous federal agencies, including FSIS and FDA, likely would be a logistical nightmare).  Nevertheless, it is not clear that there is any appetite for this type of legislation in the current Congress.