FDA struggles as Americans call for reform
March 29, 2009
by Lisa Kilian
The Washington Examiner
As Americans are encountering more product recalls in their grocery stores, many are wondering what is happening behind the scenes that recalls keep mounting instead of disappearing. Three things, according to DispatchPolitics. A lack of proper funding, a fragmented structure, and very antiquated laws keep the FDA from performing at top quality in our global economy.
Michael Taylor, a professor at George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services and former FDA deputy, described FDA laws in place as reacting to problems instead of preventing them and that the agency is underfunded. Add to that the fact that there is no unified system for inspection, policy enforcement, notification of the public of possible hazards, and most importantly, no one authority to defer to within the program.
"Nobody is really in charge and realistically accountable," Taylor says...
A report from Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation outlines the problems of the current FDA and called for the Obama Administration to create a Food Safety Administration which would supply the accountable authority our FDA lacks. There are some bills on the table for the FDA according to the LA Times; Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) has introduced the Food Safety Modernization Act which would basically split the FDA into two branches, one for drugs and medical devices and one for food. It A Senate bill which has garnered support from both Dems and the GOP proposes to revamp and reform the FDA. This bill could give the FDA the much-needed authority to issue recalls, which the FDA cannot currently do. They can only suggest that businesses recall products from their shelves. It could also institute a tracking system for food products, but some still say that is simply not enough.
Whatever the action taken, one thing is certain: It must be taken now.
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