Food Engineering

New Congress may prompt food safety focus

December 8, 2010
Removing unnecessary bureaucratic overlap could simplify food safety.


With the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives, there will be new committee chairs when the next Congress is seated in January. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), in line to become chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has prominently mentioned food safety as an area of concern for his committee.

In a September 2 letter to current committee chairman, Rep. Ed Towns (D-NY), Issa argued that the panel should expand its focus to a number of food safety issues.

“Currently, over 15 departments and agencies have jurisdiction over our food’s safety,” Issa wrote. “This top-line, multi-jurisdictional approach to food safety creates unnecessary bureaucratic overlap and confusion.”

Much of that overlap is addressed in the Food Safety and Modernization Act, passed by the house in 2009 but still languishing in the Senate. The measure could be among those targeted for action in the upcoming lame duck session of Congress.