This week, with little fanfare, the Obama administration released a proposed 2016 budget that would dramatically remake the FDA and USDA. The plan would strip each agency of its extensive food-safety oversight responsibilities and hand them over to a new food-safety agency, to be housed within the Department of Health and Human Services.
It's unclear at this point if the proposal has legs.
If a new federal food-safety agency would help eliminate redundancies in staffing and inefficiencies in budgeting while establishing simpler, uniform requirements, then the new agency might earn widespread support. But if such an agency would not save consumers and taxpayers money, wouldn't make our food safer, would put those with little expertise in charge of key regulations, and would double down on existing FDA and HHS campaigns targeting everything from caffeine to soda to trans fats and salt, then this proposal is rightly dead in the water, writes Baylen Linnekin.