Obama administration proposes new food safety agency, consolidating parts of USDA and FDA

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is proposing a new government agency dedicated to keeping the nation’s food safe.

It would consolidate parts of the Agriculture Department and the Food and Drug Administration.

The proposal in the president’s budget released Monday comes after outbreaks of illness linked to chicken, eggs, peanuts and cantaloupe. More than a dozen federal agencies oversee food safety, and consumer advocates have long called for giving it a single home.

Currently, the Agriculture Department oversees the safety and inspections of meat and processed eggs and the Food and Drug Administration oversees safety of most other foods.

The budget proposes to consolidate the Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and all of FDA’s food safety oversight into one new agency within the Department of Health and Human Services.