Experts believe new President will boost FDA oversight

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With Barack Obama in the White House, many industry watchers expect regulations to increase under the new President.

Recent foodborne illness outbreaks tied to produce and melamine-tainted products from China have caused attention to focus on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s practices. The Associated Press investigates prevailing opinions that the chief executive will push for more regulation of imported food products and fresh produce.



With some members of Congress suggesting that the FDA has become too close with industry, Obama is under pressure to appoint a new FDA commissioner quickly. “Already more than a half-dozen names are in circulation: outside critics such as Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Dr. Steven Nissen; insiders such as Susan Wood, a former director of the FDA’s women's health office; and public health advocates such as Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Baltimore's health chief,” the article states.

Many political insiders believe that food safety will be a high priority in the new administration. Obama believes ensuring the safety of America’s food supply is a fundamental role of government, according to a senior campaign adviser.

In the past, Congress had considered instituting industry fees to finance more FDA inspectors to oversee imported food, only a fraction of which is inspected currently. The Bush administration did not support the fees, but lawmakers expect the new president to be more receptive. Some have suggested also instituting a tracing system for fresh produce, which they say could have been valuable during the Salmonella outbreak last summer.

For an in-depth look at the expected changes for the future of the FDA, see the Associated Press article at



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