Focusing On Food Safety Consolidations
If Congress gives the Obama Administration the green light to reorganize the government, a single federal food safety agency is likely. If that happens, Office of Management and Budget Director for Management Jeff Zients believes – the first proposal will be to merge the six business-oriented agencies, folding together the Commerce Department's core business and trade functions, the Small Business Administration, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.
Following that a consolidation is expected of USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service with the food safety unit at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Obama administration officials are believed to be in favor of the merger because it would make food safety independent of USDA, which primarily exists to market and promote American farm products. In all, 12 agencies are involved in food safety.
Food & Water Watch has come out against the move. Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of F&WW – strongly urges against consolidating food safety functions of different government departments until much more progress is made to improve basic food safety protections. Other food safety groups, however, may see "consolidation powers" for Obama as a rare opportunity to achieve a long elusive goal.