Clinton in a report entitled “Food Safety from Farm to Table: A National Food-Safety Initiative,” (CFSAN 1997).

As summarized by this report, many levels of responsibility must be functioning simultaneously to keep the food supply safe:

On the Farm

State agencies and EPA oversee the use of pesticides. FDA oversees the use of animal drugs. Animal Plant Health Inspection Service oversees animal and plant disease.

The Clean Water Act lessens the environmental burden of animal waste.

At Processing

FDA and USDA monitor the processing of foods to detect residue contamination and microbial pathogens.

Transport and Import

FDA and USDA regulate pertaining to interstate and international food transportation and importation.

Food Services

State and local agencies, FDA, and USDA develop laws for the safe handling and preparation of foods by schools, governing hospitals, restaurants, and so forth.

Water Standards

EPA establishes and maintains water standards, and state and local agencies oversee local standards.


USDA Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES).

Illness Surveillance

CDC and state health departments.

Food Research

CDC, FDA, ARS, CSREES, and EPA research ways to improve quality control and pathogen and residue detection; HACCP strategies for by-product rendering, slaughter practices, and preparation; and disease prevention strategies.


Largely responsible for the safety of the final food as served. Education and awareness can help preserve the integrity of foods. The consumer has the last chance to identify potentially tainted food before it is eaten.

Decreasing the extent and severity of food-related illness is predicated on the establishment of an early-warning system to identify and track the sources of illness. That is a formidable goal and difficult enough to oversee within the U.S. production–consumer system, but it is further complicated by increasing global trade and, perhaps, by inadvertent entry into the United States of contaminated produce from other countries. To accomplish the task, an aggressive plan has been proposed in the National Food Safety Initiative to increase resources for the following:

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