"Either you don't have the resources, or you are incompetent to do the job you're supposed to do," Rep. John Dingell said to FDA food safety director Stephen Sundlof at a February hearing on the peanut recall. "Which conclusion am I to arrive at?"
Some in Congress have even said the challenges are so enormous that food and drug oversight needs to be completely reorganized. They support creating a separate food safety agency, in part because responsibilities are currently split between the Department of Agriculture, which monitors meat, poultry and eggs, and the FDA, which monitors all other food.
At a hearing this week on Capitol Hill, however, Waxman said that isn't going to happen just yet, citing a need to first clean up the current structure before taking on a more extensive overhaul.
Today Obama called for the creation of a Food Safety Working Group, to be jointly led HHS and agriculture secretaries. He said he expects the group to report back on upgrading food safety laws as soon as possible.
"We need to be reactive when problems occur," Acheson said in January. "We need to do that faster. We need to recognize the problems earlier. But more importantly we need to establish preventitive controls."
"No one can inspect and test everything," Acheson said. "It's just not humanly possible. So we've gotta be smart about what we test, where test it. What we look for."
ABC News' Brian Hartman and Lisa Stark contributed to this report.