WASHINGTON (WEHT) – A group of senators introduced legislation on Wednesday to combat supply chain disruptions due to food-borne illnesses. The legislation would establish a Food Safety Administration separate from the FDA, that would take over food safety responsibilities.

The FDA regulates approximately 80 percent of our food supply, and according to a press release, about one in six Americans, or 48 million people, get sick from food-borne illness each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 128,000 Americans are hospitalized each year and 3,000 Americans die of food-borne diseases. 

The Food Safety Administration Act would establish the Food Safety Administration under the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) by incorporating existing food programs within the FDA into this separate agency. This agency would be led by a food safety expert confirmed by the Senate.

U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin had this to say about the legislation, “The sad reality is that FDA seems unwilling or unable to use their authority to protect Americans from preventable illness and death.  For that reason, Congresswoman DeLauro and I are introducing legislation to transfer all of FDA’s food responsibilities to a new agency that, we hope, will have more success in protecting the foods in our kids’ lunch boxes and on our dining room tables.”

Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Chair of the House Appropriations Committee Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03) joined Durbin as original cosponsors of the legislation.

The legislation is endorsed by Center for Food Safety, Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Reports, Defend Our Health, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Healthy Babies Bright Futures, STOP Foodborne Illness, Center for Environmental Health, and Consumer Federation of America.