Thursday, February 26, 2015

DeLauro Commends Secretaries Burwell, Vilsack for Supporting Single Food Safety Agency

WASHINGTON, DC—Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) today commended United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Burwell for supporting a single food safety agency. DeLauro made her comments during meetings of the appropriations subcommittees responsible for funding the aforementioned departments. She is the senior Democrat on the subcommittee responsible for funding HHS and a former Chairwoman of the subcommittee responsible for funding USDA.

During Secretary Burwell’s testimony she called the Administration’s proposal to consolidate the currently fragmented food safety system an attempt to “get a system that is simpler and higher quality…”

DeLauro pressed Secretary Vilsack not to put food safety on the “back burner,” where it has been relegated to in the past. Secretary Vilsack agreed with DeLauro that consolidating the 15 different agencies that currently perform food safety functions would be more effective and efficient, and allow problems to be addressed more quickly.

The President’s budget calls for the creation of a single food safety agency within HHS, which DeLauro called “a good first step” at today’s hearing with Secretary Vilsack. When the budget was released earlier this month she said, in part that “American families deserve the security of knowing the food on their table is safe. Our current food safety system is hopelessly fragmented and outdated, consequently putting lives at unnecessary risk. Putting our food safety functions under HHS is a step that I first suggested in 2007; I am glad the Administration has proposed taking this action in their FY16 budget.”

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