Competing philosophies and a lack of accountability in the U.S. food-safety system make it more difficult to protect consumers, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said this week.

According to a Reuters report, Vilsack believes the USDA is focused more on prevention while the Food and Drug Administration targets mitigation due to a heavy workload and limited staffing. Vilsack heads a White House panel for reforming food safety with Kathleen Sebelius, the former Kansas governor nominated to serve as health and human services secretary.

 Several high-profile food recalls since 2006 have led many lawmakers and the Obama administration to call for reform of a system that includes 15 federal agencies that handle food safety. Lawmakers have already introduced legislation this year to improve food-safety oversight. The bills focus largely on giving the FDA more funding and power, such as the ability to conduct a mandatory recall.

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