The Democratic-led Congress plans to make food safety a top priority, which could include placing all governmental food safety divisions under a single jurisdiction.

"We've just got to go in and have, really, a top to bottom look at what is going on," Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) tells Reuters, following highly publicized cases recently of E. coli infections following consumption of Taco Bell products in the Northeast. DeLauro will head up the House Ag Appropriations Committee in the 110th Congress.

In the article, Susan Stout, VP of federal affairs for the Grocery Manufacturers Association, says more staffing, inter-agency coordination and inspection of imported foods are possible solutions.

"I just hope Congress doesn't think building a single federal agency (to oversee food safety) is the answer," she says.

Despite the recent high-profile cases, USDA says E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella cases have declined 9-32% since 1998.
-- Joe Roybal