abroad to boost food, drug safety
of Article: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jhqwsGe2OUOwcWIwnulQt-uOA31gD98J20405
By TOMOKO A. HOSAKA – 11
TOKYO (AP) — The U.S.
Food and Drug Administration has expanded offices around the world and
heightened contacts with counterpart agencies in order to improve product
safety for Americans at home, a senior agency official said Wednesday.
Globalization has transformed
the food supply as well as the manufacturing process of drugs and
cosmetics, said Dr. Murray Lumpkin, the FDA's deputy commissioner in charge
of international programs.
"What we now
recognize ... is that in order for us to do a better job at home, we have
to do a better job with our counterpart agencies around the world," he
told reporters at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo.
Over the last several
months, the FDA has established its first overseas posts in China, India,
Latin America and Europe.
"It shows our
agency evolving from a very domestically focused agency historically to one
now that realizes that it does have a place in a much more complex
regulatory world," said Lumpkin, in Tokyo for an annual meeting with
foray represents a significant shift in strategy for the agency, which
until now relied extensively on border inspections to identify unsafe
goods. Inspection is a critical part of the process, but it can no longer
serve as the first line of defense, Lumpkin said.
reputation has been tarnished in recent years, in part due to recurring
outbreaks of food-borne illnesses that have undermined confidence in its
oversight. Food scares out of China, including tainted milk products and
pet food, have led U.S. lawmakers to call for greater regulation.
Dr. Margaret Hamburg,
confirmed as head of the FDA in mid-May, has said she wants to restore
public confidence in the agency by putting science first and running an
open and accountable operation.