Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), who oversees funding for the FDA, in February introduced the Food Safety Modernization Act that would split the FDA into two agencies—one for regulating food safety and the other for medical products. Her bill would create the Food Safety Administration, separating current food-related activities from the FDA and putting them under the supervision of a new food-safety expert.
The bill would “establish a farm-to-fork system for protecting foods that are currently regulated by FDA, which has jurisdiction over 80% of the food supply,” she said in a statement. The congresswoman, who has been a vocal critic of the agency for years, says the new agency would have oversight over fruits, vegetables and processed foods. Her bill would require food producers to adhere to federal standards for preventing contaminants in food, and permit the new agency to order food recalls and seize unsafe products, and conduct safety inspections.
“I think this peanut butter crisis may be—it remains to be seen—the straw that broke the camel’s back,” DeLauro said. Her bill would tackle what she described as “the dysfunctional nature of the FDA.”
She conceded that “FDA does need more resources,” but asserted that “those resources will yield very few improvements to a broken system unless there is a parallel commitment to better management.”