With a recent salmonella outbreak and following peanut butter recall, criminal investigations have been prompted and the reintroduction of legislation intended to strengthen food safety oversight by the federal government has begun. Public pressure to strengthen the agency safeguards on foods continues to grow, along with prospects of congressional action. It is important to put this into action because there are 76 million foodborne illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths that occur each year because of unsafe foods (Surfas, A., 2008). In addition, there is also a great cost to our nation of $7 billion (Surfas, A., 2008) in economic losses annually. Based on the current food safety issues, there is a need for strong supported reforms such as splitting the FDA into two separate agencies.
Since the salmonella outbreak, a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives, Rosa DeLauro, represents Connecticut's 3rd congressional district, to introduce the Food Safety Modernization Act on February 4.
This Act would split the FDA into two agencies: the Food Safety Administration, which would solely protect and regulate the food supply, and a second entity for regulating drugs and medical devices. DeLauro believes the FDA should be split into two separate agencies, which would provide more direct oversight within the organization. For DeLauro, a long-term solution would be the creation of an independent, single food safety agency that would establish as the "Food Safety Administration" within the department of Health and Human Services, which would have responsibility for all food safety issues currently administered by FDA.
Not everybody shares DeLauro's view, and there are two disagreements between the lawmakers: 1) whether to split the Food and Drug Administration into two agencies, and 2) whether to finance increased safety inspections through fees on industry or through general appropriations. Taking both of these...