Enhanced Coordination Between USDA and FDA Could Improve Food Safety, Efficient Oversight

USDA & FDA sign agreement to bolster coordination, two men seated at table signing document with others standing behind them
FDA's Scott Gottlieb (left) and USDA's Sonny Perdue (right) sit down together to formalize  agency cooperation agreement
Jan 31, 2018
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have entered into a formal agreement to make food oversight more efficient and effective, according to an announcement by the two agencies yesterday.  The agreement aims to increase interagency collaboration, streamline inspection responsibilities, eliminate inefficiencies, and improve regulatory clarity and transparency in agriculture and food-processing industries.

“We’re happy to see this relationship formalized,” said Ben Mosely, USA Rice vice president of government affairs.  “Coordination between federal agencies is extremely important because regulators don’t always understand ag issues, and we support efforts to ensure that growers and millers aren't being asked to comply with duplicative rules.  Whether the issue is food safety, rice pretenders, or biotechnology, increased coordination between these two agencies is a good thing for U.S. rice.”

The USDA and FDA already coordinate oversight of the nation’s food supply, as many of their jurisdictions overlap.  The agreement will formalize that cooperation in order to identify areas of redundancy, making regulatory processes such as facility inspections more efficient.  This has the potential to reduce regulatory cost to the industry, and to decrease the number of facilities currently subject to dual regulatory requirements by both the USDA and the FDA.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said on Tuesday, “This agreement not only formalizes this ongoing coordination, but presents a great opportunity to expand those efforts through better integration and increased clarity to the agriculture and food processing sectors.  Our coordination with these sectors plays an integral role in helping to keep our nation’s food supply safe and secure.”

“We at the USDA have a motto: Do Right, and Feed Everyone,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.  “We believe this joint effort will help us move one step closer to that goal.”