U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says he hopes the fifth time’s the charm for legislation to create a new food safety agency. Bills have been introduced in 1999, 2004, 2005, and 2007 to combine the food safety duties spread across 15 federal agencies into a single entity. All of them failed, but Durbin believes he can get Republican support on this proposal.
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“My argument to them is ‘Why do you want to waste money?” Durbin said. “Why don’t we make this a more efficient operation, a leaner operation, but one that by coordinating efforts, doesn’t have so much duplication and waste. I hope that argument can prevail.”
No Republicans in Congress have publicly backed the bill.
Durbin’s example of the overlapping responsibilities in food safety is an egg. When the egg is in its shell, it falls under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration. If its processed into an egg product, it’s regulated by the food safety division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.