G.A.O.: Food safety oversight change needed
January 23, 2009
by Josh Sosland
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama should reconvene the President’s Council on Food Safety and consider alternative structures to oversee food safety, according to the Government Accountability Office. The recommendation was part of the biennial High Risk Series, a report issued by the G.A.O. to identify government programs vulnerable to problems or in need of change. Since first adding food safety to its high risk list in 2007, the largest food-borne outbreak in the last 10 years transpired because of Salmonella in fresh produce, the G.A.O. noted (separate from the current peanut product outbreak). The large levels of food imported into the United States "underscore the urgency to revamp the system," the G.A.O. said. "The executive branch should develop a results-oriented government wise performance plan to help ensure agencies’ goals are complementary and to help decision makers balance tradeoffs when resource allocation and restructuring decisions are made," the G.A.O. said.