News last update:6 Aug 2012

FDA plans to open China office in May

U.S. food and drug regulators will start working in China next month once Beijing gives its final approval, the top U.S. health official said Tuesday.

Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said the Food and Drug Administration is planning to open an office in China as part of a change in strategy following product safety problems in Chinese imports that prompted several health scares and have been linked to some deaths. U.S. regulators have recalled a number of contaminated products made in China: toothpaste, pet food, the blood thinner heparin and others. "Our purpose is not just inspection, it is building capacity and maintaining relationships between regulators," Leavitt said.

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Leavitt said the U.S expects to build a presence in a number of other countries, including India and those of the Central American region. He said the safety of food and product imports is "a global problem" driven by a rapid increase in goods being produced and consumed across borders.

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