A Shopping List of Solutions. Amanda Gardner and E.J. Mundell report:And now, the conclusion of HealthDay News’ three-part look at food safety in the United States:
The current hodgepodge of food regulations were simply adopted as the need arose, experts say.Be sure to check out the whole series, here are parts two and three:
"You have a system that developed organically from the turn of the [20th] century," explained Jessica Milano, who wrote a report on food safety, Spoiled: Keeping Tainted Food Off America's Tables, that was published in September by the nonprofit Progressive Policy Institute. "As economies developed with more commercial food manufacturers and multi-ingredient products, you have some overlaps and redundancies."
Those overlaps and redundancies have left regulators and producers unable to guarantee the safety of all foods sold in the United States, critics contend.
Solutions to the problem fall into two broad categories: government-mandated reforms and reforms generated by the food industry itself. How these reforms would be implemented depends on whether the food is grown domestically or abroad…
…Michael Doyle, a microbiologist who is director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia in Griffin, agreed.
"There really needs to be a single food safety agency so that you don't have all of this ridiculous overlap and duplication," he said. "When you have it split up into different agencies like that, there's a lot of bureaucratic infighting."
Such a merger would also address the current imbalance in agency budgets and responsibilities. The FDA's food inspection division -- which most agree is woefully underfunded -- is charged with inspecting all foods except for meat, poultry and eggs, which are covered by the better-funded USDA.
Although the "superagency" concept has been implemented in other countries, many observers doubt this will happen in the United States.