WASHINGTON — State and local agencies lack adequate funds and other resources to ensure food safety in their areas, a new public health study shows.
In the wake of recalls in the past year, the consumer media have focused on the respective duties of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but most food safety work actually is carried out by about 3,000 local and state agencies, observers say. That work includes inspecting restaurants, processing plants and grocery stores, detecting food-related illness outbreaks and keeping unsafe food out of the hands of consumers.
That those endeavors are hampered by inadequate resources is revealed in a just-released study conducted by the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.
The research report calls upon Congress to increase federal funding to local and state agencies to ensure a safe food supply and makes other specific recommendations that include a complete overhaul of communications systems between federal and local agencies charged with the nation's food safety in order to create a better flow of information.