Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Article in the Wall Street Journal -- FDA Food Inspections Are Seen as Inadequate, by Jane Zhang. Here's an excerpt:
Congressional investigators are expected to tell a House subcommittee today that the Food and Drug Administration's ability to ensure the safety of the U.S. food supply is "minimal" and agency plans to overhaul its inspection regime could make a bad situation worse.
FDA officials, under fire for the recent string of high-profile food scares involving both domestic and imported foods, have been asked to appear before a House Energy and Commerce investigations subcommittee hearing to discuss the agency's food inspections.
Committee staff reviewed the system extensively and found that a shrinking inspection staff examines less than 1% of all imported food. A typical inspector in the FDA's San Francisco office examines nearly 1,000 food entries a day -- roughly one every 30 seconds, the committee report found. The agency, it says, allows importers to take possession of their high-risk goods and arrange for testing by a private laboratory. Before melamine-contaminated pet food killed and sickened thousands of pets, the FDA had never inspected those ingredients from China.