Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), an advocate of a single federal food safety agency, indicated that she will reintroduce legislation to consolidate the activities of a number of departments and agencies currently with overlapping jurisdiction over production and safety of food.

This action follows the release of “Enhancing Food Safety: the Role of the Food and Drug Administration” prepared by the National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine. The report stresses the need to apply risk-based analysis and to identify critical control points in the entire chain of food production.

Concern regarding a single food agency has been expressed at a number of levels including the current Obama Administration and in Congress. Reluctance to proceed with this innovative reorganization is based on traditional turf barriers but other considerations include lobbying efforts by both industry and consumer groups.

Experience with establishing the Department of Homeland Security confirmed the difficulties associated with combining departments due to a loss of expertise as senior administrators leave to take retirement or enter the commercial sector and lack of interagency formal and backchannel communication.