1994, title II of P.L. 103-354. That section merely states that the undersecretary shall be delegated those functions and duties under the jurisdiction of the Department of Agriculture that are primarily related to food safety. The undersecretary is appointed by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, from among individuals with specialized training or significant experience with food safety or public health programs.

The principal responsibility of the undersecretary is overseeing the policies and programs of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the Department of Agriculture. The FSIS is responsible for the implementation and enforcement of the food safety laws that are the responsibility of the department—the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the Poultry Products Inspection Act, and the Egg Products Inspection Act. Through the administrator of FSIS, the undersecretary supervises a staff of approximately 7,500 persons, including scientists, international food safety experts, field office food inspectors, enforcement officers, and others. The FSIS is the largest category of employees in the Department of Agriculture.


As we have seen, statutory provisions that establish or direct organizational features of the department differ in the extent to which they create a serious barrier to administrative reorganization. For example, the mere creation of an office to carry out a given function, does not constrain the ability of the secretary to place that function or office where he or she sees fit. On the other hand, the creation of a particular office within the department or within a component of the department and a statutory assignment to that office of a particular set of programs and functions are requirements that must be given some effect. However, such a provision does not necessarily bar the secretary from accomplishing organizational objectives. For example, in 1978, after Congress had directed that the commissioner on aging should report directly to the Office of the Secretary, the secretary was able to achieve his goal of having the Administration on Aging be part of the Office of Human Development Services (OHDS) by placing OHDS within the Office of the Secretary.

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