July 23, 2024

FDA Not Keeping Up with FSMA Foreign Inspection Law

A report released last week by the Government Accountability Office says that the FDA has to do more about inspecting food facilities in countries that export that food to the United States. The GAO studied the FDA’s foreign offices in 2010 and found that they have a too heavy workload. A follow-up report found that the FDA is not inspecting enough facilities as mandated by the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011.

FDAThe FDA is supposed to inspect 600 foreign food facilities in the first year after FSMA was signed into law and, for each of the next five years, inspect at least twice the number of firms inspected the previous year. According to those calculations, the government should have inspected 4,800 facilities last year, but only conducted 1,323 inspections.

The report states, “FDA officials told us that the agency has not met – and is not planning to meet – the FSMA mandate. They questioned the usefulness of conducting the number of inspections mandated by FSMA.”

FDA is charged with ensuring the safety and proper labeling of more than 80% of the country’s food supply. Imported food amounts are increasing rapidly. In 2008, foreign offices were established to help prevent unsafe food from being imported into the US.

While the FDA disagrees with the FSMA mandate, they do not know how many inspections every year would keep our food supply safe. The GAO recommends that FDA complete an analysis to determine the number of foreign food facility inspections that is “sufficient to ensure comparable safety of imported and domestic food.”



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