News last update:6 Aug 2012

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
The 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.

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Source: newsinferno.com

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