When the government responded to 9/11, they eventually created a Department of Homeland Security. Why? Because the seperate agencies designed to detect this problem and stop it from happening failed to do this job. Consolidation of the intelligence infrastructure under one department has helped to bring these disparate agencies together in a functional way.
Considering the Spinach Flu, the Hot Dog Chili Sauce Botulism Outbreak, and now, the PB Plague, and not at all comparing it to 9/11 except in the way I mentioned above, it is time to create a Department of Food. Asks the New York Times:
Food-borne illnesses are not uncommon. But this case has raised particular concern because peanuts are ubiquitous and the patchwork monitoring system — with at least 12 federal agencies regulating food safety — was unable to detect and stop shipments of tainted products, going back as far as 2007. Would creating a single “Department of Food,” consolidating the food-safety work of the Agriculture Department and the Food and Drug Administration, to name just two agencies, better protect consumers?
Here is a snippet of some arguments for and against this idea:
– “If there’s one incident that shows our food safety system is broken, this nationwide salmonella outbreak is it. Under the current regulatory framework, it is up to the Food and Drug Administration to discover whether there are problems at a plant. Yet, the tools and resources that the agency has at its disposal are so limited that it’s no surprise that problems go undetected.”
– “We’ve already built a federal administration mandated to undertake such a task. The fact that the Food and Drug Administration — specifically the Center of Food Safety and Applied Nutrition — has abjectly failed to do its job strikes me as an inadequate justification for such an expensive addition to the federal government. Bureaucracy might be a necessary evil, but a redundant bureaucracy is just plain evil.”
– “I don’t believe that a Department of Food in and of itself would make our food system safer. What we need is to reinvent our food system to a more sustainable one, where the health of our children and planet are given more priority than a bottom line.”
– “When President Abraham Lincoln established the United States Department of Agriculture in 1862, he called it the People’s Department. And that still holds true today.”
I think we should call the new department, The Department of Foodland Security. What do you think?