FDA Needs to Get a Grip
on Food Issues, Report Finds

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s abilities to discover potential threats to food safety and prevent outbreaks of foodborne illness are hampered by impediments to efficient use of its limited resources and a piecemeal approach to gathering and using information on risks, says a new report by the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council.

In other words, the FDA is a mess. The Agency only responds after a disaster rather than predicting potential ones. Of course, this is nothing new to those who have been paying attention, but it’s always nice to have a report to make the prognosis “official.”

More importantly, this report, which was requested by the FDA and Congress, proposes solutions, such as:

  • Encouraging the FDA to adopt a risk-based approach to health data to more quickly identify potential food-chain problems.
  • The FDA should increase coordination with state and other federal agencies. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, for example, oversees meat while Oregon’s health department seemingly discovers more problems than the FDA does.
  • The FDA should build a centralized food data center that can rapidly collect and disseminate food problems.
  • The FDA should standardized testing and rules among states, then farm out inspections to state agencies.
  • I’d read the whole report, but it costs $70, even on PDF. Jeesh.

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