Food Safety and Quality:

Who Does What in the Federal Government

RCED-91-19B: Published: Dec 21, 1990. Publicly Released: Jan 22, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided a detailed description of the food safety and quality activities of 12 federal agencies, including the: (1) Food and Drug Administration (FDA); (2) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS); (3) Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS); (4) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS); (5) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); and (6) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

GAO found that: (1) FDA ensured the safety and quality of all domestic and imported food products except meat and poultry by monitoring the food industry through preventive inspection programs; (2) EPA regulated all pesticide products and established tolerance levels for pesticide residues in or on food commodities and animal feed; (3) FSIS administered a comprehensive system of inspection laws to ensure the safety and quality of all meat and poultry products; (4) AMS facilitated the marketing of egg, dairy, fruit, vegetable, meat, and poultry products, but had limited food safety responsibilities; (5) FGIS facilitated the marketing of grain, oilseeds, pulses, rice, and related commodities by establishing descriptive standards and terms, certifying quality, and providing uniform inspection and weighing; and (6) NMFS ensured the safety and quality of all fish and shellfish. GAO also found that other agencies involved in federal food safety and quality activities included the Agricultural Research Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, U.S. Customs Service, Centers for Disease Control, and Federal Trade Commission.

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