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    US May Merge Food Safety Into Homeland Security

    WASHINGTON - The Bush administration said on Thursday it may ask Congress to consider merging a dozen federal agencies that oversee US food safety into the proposed Homeland Security Department, Reuters reports.

    WASHINGTON - The Bush administration said on Thursday it may ask Congress to consider merging a dozen federal agencies that oversee US food safety into the proposed Homeland Security Department, Reuters reports.

    Agencies under consideration include the US Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Commerce Department, the Customs Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency, among others.

    Under President Bush's proposal, the new department would absorb USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which protects US agriculture from pests and diseases.

    "There are still another 12 agencies out there that have something to do with food safety, and that was too much to pull in the department," Homeland Security director Tom Ridge told lawmakers. "It may be subject (to) consideration from the Congress down the road."

    In March, Ridge said the Bush administration would first see if it can achieve its homeland security goals within the current system before seriously considering the idea of a single food safety agency.

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