September 23, 2018

FDA, China Agree to Cooperate on Food Safety

The FDA announced on December 11, 2012, that it has renewed an agreement with the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine of China (AQSIQ) to enhance cooperation between the two countries on food safety. The original agreement was struck in 2007. The announcement extends the agreement for five more years.

The agreement includes enhancement of FDA’s ability to identify high-risk foods imported from China, collaboration to facilitate inspections of facilities that process and produce food, a focus on high-risk foods exported from China to the U.S., including pet foods, canned foods, and aquaculture, and the creation of processes for FDA to accept verified information about registration and certification.

Last spring, the Chinese government refused to let the FDA test samples that were associated with pet deaths unless the tests were conducted in Chinese-run laboratories. Record-keeping practices of some of the firms and very sporadic tests of raw materials used to make food products were questioned by the FDA at that time.

More cooperation is needed, since China is exporting more and more food to the United States. The FDA has outlined five areas where “significant progress” was made since 2007. They include increased inspections of food facilities in China. There were no inspections conducted by the FDA in 2007, but 85 facilities were inspected in 2011. The government states that there is better cooperation on so-called “high risk” foods, which include farm-raised fish. The FDA now has offices in China, which has enhanced collaboration with Chinese food-safety authorities and “developed key relationships with Chinese regulators.”

In 2008, about 20% of dairy companies in China sold products tainted with melamine, which worried many consumers.┬áThe Food Safety and Modernization Act of 2010 is setting new requirements for imported foods. The burden lies with the U.S. importer to verify that suppliers can ensure the safety of their food. In addition, FDA is working with AQSIQ to conduct “multiple outreach events” for Chinese food safety officials and regulated industry. Finally, the FDA is working directly with AQSIQ to enhance understanding of China’s lab system for testing food.

Comments

  1. BalancedMind says:

    Thanks for posting this. I am very happy to hear that the FDA has stepped up their efforts.

    Most products from China are inferior or questionable anyway. If they keep shipping dangerous food, toys, etc, eventually consumers will refuse to take any of it and China will be out a very important trading partner.

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