FDA: own inspectors in foreign countries
To ensure safety of imported foods and medicines, the FDA wants to post its
own inspectors in embassies and consulates throughout the developing world. The
FDA is focusing on nations like India and China and regions like Central and
South America and the Middle East.
While imports of both food and drugs have increased
dramatically, the FDA inspects only about 1% off the imported goods under its
oversight. The FDA's oversight of imports has been under scrutiny since
last year, when dozens of imported products were recalled over safety issues.
Foods from China, particularly seafood laced with illegal levels of antibiotics
and toxic pet food ingredients
, have been of special concern.
Agreement with China
outcry over those scandals has led the FDA to re-examine its food safety
procedures, especially regarding imported products. For example, in December, the United States and China agreed
to a greater American role in certifying and inspecting Chinese food products,
including an increased presence of American officials at Chinese production
plants.Far from reality
But the ramped up foreign
inspection plan is still far from being a reality according to FDA commissioner
Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach. He said he wasn't sure where the money for the plan
would come from – the FDA could ask for additional financing from Congress for
the inspectors or find the money in its existing budge. Although some in
Congress have advocated a bigger budget for the FDA, the Bush Administration has
been less than supportive.Related news:China keeps violating US food standards
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