As part of a proposal to reorganize several federal agencies, the Trump administration has recommended that food-safety regulatory oversight be shifted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), combining the agency’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) with the current food purview of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to the proposal, the Government Accountability Office found that the existing approach “has caused inconsistent oversight, ineffective coordination, and inefficient use of resources” and recommends “merging Federal food safety functions as a potential solution to this fragmentation.” For example, the administration suggests, “[W]hile FSIS has regulatory responsibility for the safety of liquid eggs, FDA has regulatory responsibility for the safety of eggs while they are inside of their shells; FDA regulates cheese pizza, but if there is pepperoni on top, it falls under the jurisdiction of FSIS; FDA regulates closed-faced meat sandwiches, while FSIS regulates open-faced meat sandwiches.”

The proposed USDA agency, the Federal Food Safety Agency, “would pursue a modern, science-based food safety regulatory regime” and “would reduce duplication of inspection at some food processing facilities, improve outreach to consumers and industry, and achieve savings over time while ensuring robust and coordinated food safety oversight.”

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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