State Agri Director Wants Control Over Wholesale Food Operation

OCTOBER 4, 2006 - Posted at 7:46 a.m. CDT

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - Arkansas' agriculture secretary says his agency and not the Department of Health and Human Services should oversee wholesale food preparation in Arkansas.

Richard Bell says his department should supervise all areas vital to agriculture.  He says his department, instead of the health and human services agency, should inspect food processing plants and oversee the quality of milk.

The Agriculture Department was created last year, and oversees the use of farm chemicals, the sale of seed and other issues for row crop farming.  It also oversees the state Livestock and Poultry Commission and the state Forestry Commission.

Bell says he would argue for realigning the agency in 2007.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)