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USDA, FDA partner to streamline food safety

By Danielle Haynes
USDA, FDA partner to streamline food safety
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb (L) and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue sign a formal agreement to partner on some food safety regulatory practices Tuesday. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Two federal agencies responsible for ensuring food safety announced a partnership Tuesday with the goal of reducing costs in areas where the two overlap.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration, which both oversee the nation's food supply, now plan to work together to implement safety measures and biotechnology efforts, a news release from the USDA said.

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Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced the formal agreement during a signing ceremony in Washington, D.C.

"Today, Commissioner Gottlieb and I signed a formal agreement to promote coordination and the streamlining of capacities and obligations on shared concerns and jurisdiction," Perdue said. "Congress passed the Food Safety Modernization Act and assigned responsibilities to the USDA and the FDA. The USDA has the knowledge and expertise to support the FDA's work related to farming."

While the USDA largely oversees the safety of most meat, poultry, catfish and some egg products, the FDA has authority over dairy, seafood, produce and packaged foods.

The agreement "aims to increase clarity, efficiency and potentially reduce the number of establishments subject to the dual regulatory requirements of the USDA and the FDA," the release says. "For example, when a facility, such as a canned soup facility, produces both chicken noodle soup and tomato soup, it is currently subject to regulation by both agencies."

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Gottlieb said the agreement is expected to reduce costs for industries and create more efficiency.

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