February 6, 2009 / 10:19 PM / 10 years ago

USDA's Vilsack favors single food safety agency

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack believes a single U.S. agency should be created and put in charge of the food safety work now handled by a variety of agencies, said a spokesman on Friday.

The spokesman was not immediately able to say if Vilsack’s view was shared by the Obama administration.

Earlier this week, a House subcommittee chairwoman introduced a bill to split apart the Food and Drug Administration to create a separate agency that would take over FDA’s oversight of fruit, vegetables and processed foods. It would not affect USDA’s meat inspection agency.

Creation of a single agency in charge of all food safety work, or lodging the duties in an existing agency, has been proposed repeatedly in Congress.

Reporting by Charles Abbott; Editing by David Gregorio

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