June 17, 2024

GAO Says Food Safety on High Risk List

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a report detailing high risk areas in the government. The reports states that federal oversight of food safety is “high risk” to the economy and public health and safety.

Congress BuildingThe report states that the U.S. government is “the world’s largest and most complex entity” that runs a multitude of programs. The areas marked as high risk need the most work. Other items on the list include enforcing tax laws, transforming the EPA’s processing for identifying and controlling toxic chemicals, and better managing climate change risk.

The detailed information about federal oversight of food safety includes this statement: “the fragmented federal oversight of food safety has caused inconsistent oversight, ineffective coordination, and inefficient use of resources. The 2010 nationwide recall of more than 500 million eggs because of Salmonella contamination highlights this fragmentation.” The report continues, “new food safety legislation, the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act, strengthens a major part of the food safety system. [But] it does not apply to the federal food safety system as a whole or address USDA’s authorities, which remain separate and distinct from FDA’s.”

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) issued a statement about the GAO’s report. She said, “given the sheer number of foodborne illnesses and outbreaks, it is no surprise that federal oversight of food sfety continues to be includd on the GAO’s list of high risk area. You need to look no further tahn the current Salmonella outbreak that has sickened 18 people in five states to know that food safety deserves to be on this list and it is time for Congress to act. Since the GAO first added food safety to the list of high risk areas in 2007, they have highlighted the fragmented oversight of food safety and recommend establishment of a government-wide plan to address this critical problem. That plan remains elusive.”

The Congresswoman intends to introduce a bill to establish a single food safety agency, which “would ensure that there is one person the public can hold accountable when outbreaks occur.” The GAO report recommends that the President reconvene the Council on Food Safety.


  1. best health and safety food says

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