Four U.S. senators wrote a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) asking for a study that will measure the viability of creating the single food agency proposed by lawmakers in January.

The letter--written by senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)--asks the GAO to look into whether or not the proposed Food Safety Act of 2015 would in fact increase efficiencies, reduce costs and improve safety.

“Recognizing the need to improve food safety oversight effectiveness and efficiency, several other countries have taken steps to streamline and consolidate their food safety functions. Given concerns about the fragmented federal food safety system in the United States and potential lessons to be learned from consolidation efforts in other countries, we request GAO’s assistance.” the senators wrote.

Overall, the senators want the GAO to provide them with options. In what different ways can a food safety system be set up? What are the advantages of each system? How much will each system cost? What challenges can be expected for each option? Are there any best practices to be gleaned from other countries that have consolidated their food safety systems?

In January, a larger group of senators introduced the Food Safety Act of 2015 to Congress, a move that would ultimately combine the oversight functions of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other agencies. The bill would create a single federal agency with an administrator directly appointed by the President.

Although most of the responsibility for food safety lies with the FDA, there’s a total of 15 different agencies--including the USDA, who oversees meat, poultry and processed eggs--that share the duties. The disjointed efforts among these agencies has created an industry upon which no chief authority exists for anyone involved--consumers, retailers nor industry professionals.