U.S. FDA seeks broader regulatory powers

Last Updated: Monday, December 1, 2008 | 2:34 PM ET

Source of Article:  http://www.cbc.ca/consumer/story/2008/12/01/fda-report.html

CBC News

In a report released on Monday, U.S. authorities propose beefing up regulatory registrations and hiring third-party inspectors in a bid to protect the food supply chain.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said its plan aims to address new threats to the food safety system.

"Rising food imports, increasing consumption of convenience foods, and new foodborne pathogens are among the challenges we face," the report said.

"To address these challenges, we must move toward a food safety and defence system that is more proactive and strategic."

The report detailed its preventive measures already passed, including approving irradiation for produce as well as the creation of overseas offices in China, India, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

But the FDA noted it is also seeking legislative changes that would allow the federal agency to hire private-sector inspectors, issue mandatory recalls and require food facilities to register with the FDA every two years.

The federal agency has faced considerable scrutiny for its handlings of foodborne illnesses and recalls of tainted imported products. Earlier this year, the FDA struggled to find the source of a salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 1,300 people. More recently, the FDA changed its stance on the health hazards of melamine, saying the chemical was safe in very small amounts.




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