In mid-December, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced a bill that would move the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its seafood inspections to the U.S. Department of the Interior.
More broadly, the act transfers all functions of the U.S. Departments of Labor and Commerce to a newly established Department of Commerce and the Workforce. In doing so, a handful of offices would be moved elsewhere, including NOAA (currently under Commerce) to Interior.
Burr said that the consolidation of “duplicative programs” would reduce spending.
“The president has proposed merging and consolidating federal agencies several times over his two terms, and this bill advances that proposal,” Burr said in a statement.
NOAA’s fee-for-service Seafood Inspection Program offers inspections for businesses to demonstrate food regulation compliance and become eligible for stamping with official marks, such as U.S. Grade A, Processed Under Federal Inspection and Lot Inspection.
In January 2012, the director of the Office of Management and Budget said that if Congress were to grant President Obama the power to consolidate federal agencies, the White House would want to merge food safety agencies into one. The president’s first plan to merge six business-oriented and trade agencies also included a plan to move NOAA to the Department of the Interior.© Food Safety News