Wednesday, February 23, 2005

GAO: Other countries benefit from consolidating food safety oversight

The General Accounting Office (GAO) is one of the best agencies in government for writing common sense in plain English. For years, in report after report, GAO has explained the advantages of a single food safety agency over the irrational current arrangement in the U.S. federal government. At present, meat pizza is regulated by USDA and cheese pizza by FDA. In a report released this week, GAO explains how other countries gained from consolidating food safety oversight:
Officials in most countries stated their new food safety agencies incurred consolidation startup costs. However, in each country, government officials believe that consolidation costs have been or will likely be exceeded by the benefits. These officials and food industry and consumer stakeholders cited significant qualitative improvements in the effectiveness or efficiency of their food safety systems. These improvements include less overlap in inspections, greater clarity in responsibilities, and more consistent or timely enforcement of food safety laws and regulations. In addition to these qualitative benefits, officials from three countries, Canada, Denmark, and the Netherlands, identified areas where they believe financial savings may be achieved as a result of consolidation.
Greater efficiencies, better safety, and financial savings? They'll never go for that here.

No comments: