Congress may need to intervene to assure the high-level coordination of food safety efforts, said the Government Accountability Office on Wednesday in a report listing three dozen “high-risk” areas throughout the government.
A corn, soybean and rice operation collected $3.7 million in crop subsidies in 2015, said the Government Accountability Office in a report on USDA's rule limiting subsidies to people "actively engaged" in farming. The rule requires members of general partnerships and joint ventures to provide land, capital or equipment to a farm and also labor or management.
At the start of this year, the FDA shut off the use of medically important antibiotics to speed up weight gain in cattle, hogs and poultry as part of a government-wide drive to maintain the efficacy of antimicrobials in treating disease in humans. The Government Accountability Office says, "[O]versight gaps still exist" that could allow long-term use of medicine in the name of disease prevention, weakening the limitations on the drugs.
U.S. food safety relies on the piecemeal work of 16 federal agencies, four Democratic senators said in asking President Trump for White House leadership in writing a national strategy on food safety and assuring agencies follow it. The request was not as sweeping as past proposals for a single food-safety agency but it faces many obstacles.
A government report says the injury rate for meat industry workers has improved greatly yet injuries are more common than in the rest of the manufacturing sector, reports Harvest Public Media. "But injuries in the meat industry are also likely to be under-reported," it says.
After examining USDA's handling of an epidemic that killed millions of pigs across the country, the Government Accountability Office said the department needs a stronger plan for dealing with disease threats. In a report, GAO faulted USDA for a lackluster response when the swine enteric coronavirus diseases were detected in May 2013.
Six lawmakers wrote USDA in support of strong rules on who qualifies for farm subsidies on the grounds of being "actively engaged" in farming.
The government lacks an over-arching performance plan for food safety nor do USDA and FDA engage in broad-based collaboration of their overlapping food safety programs, said the Government Accountability Office.
The Government Accountability Office says cost of the taxpayer-subsidized crop and flood insurance programs could rise substantially in coming decades due to climate change.