Despite recent improvements, a key agency responsible for the nation’s food safety is still way behind in modernizing the nation’s food safety system. That’s from the Food and Drug Administration’s own inspector general and lawmakers who have oversight of the agency
.Congress gave the Food and Drug Administration the power years ago to force recalls of food blamed for illness outbreaks. But House Energy and Commerce Chair Greg Walden says, based on the inspector general’s report, the FDA has failed to fully implement the Food Safety Modernization Act.
But, the FDA has used mandatory recall only twice since then, and not at all over the last four years. Other past recalls were voluntary. It took 57-days, on average, to start a recall, after FDA learned of listeria, salmonella, and E-coli in greens, cheese, nuts, butter, and other foods. Health and Human Services’ Deputy Inspector General Gloria Jarmon.
FDA enforcement director Douglas Stearn told lawmakers FDA’s taken steps to speed recalls, their oversight, and information sharing with the public, including naming affected stores. But, Stearn seemed hard-pressed to explain why the FDA’s still having problems.
One in six people, or 48-million, get sick each year from foodborne illness. Three thousand die and the number of multi-state outbreaks is growing.
In the meantime, USDA is proposing a new voluntary inspection system for market hog slaughter, plus added pathogen sampling at all swine slaughter establishments.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.