Who's minding your food? Surprise! It depends

WASHINGTON (AP) - Lawmakers are pushing for a new government agency that would be responsible for food safety in the wake of a
massive salmonella outbreak in peanuts.

A bill sponsored by Democratic Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut would split the Food and Drug Administration in two, separating the agency's drug oversight and food safety duties.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has gone even further, suggesting that all the government agencies responsible for food safety, including those that are part of the Agriculture Department, should combine into one.

The FDA bears the brunt of food safety oversight, but at least 15 government agencies have a hand in making sure food is safe.

That mission's been called into question in the wake of a massive recall of peanut products, including some from a plant in Plainview, Texas. But at least 15 government agencies have a hand in making sure food is safe under at least 30 different laws, some of which date back to the early 1900s.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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