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FDA Addresses Challenge of Safety of Imports

June 20, 2011

Earlier today the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) issued a special report entitled “Pathway to Global Product Safety and Quality.”

“This report in large part is meant to frame the issue so that all of our colleagues inside the FDA and external to the FDA really understand how much the world has changed and the necessity of how much we do business in the FDA has to be dramatically transformed,” Dr. Hamburg is quoted as saying in an interview with Gardiner Harris of the New York Times. “This is something that I’ve been stressing as a priority from Day 1.”

According to the report, “FDA-regulated products account for about 10% of all imports into the U.S., arriving from more than 300,000 facilities in 150 different countries.”

In Gardner Harris’s interview with Dr. Hamburg, the FDA Commissioner also stated that, ““It’s all very nice for people to feel that we have one of the safest food supplies in the world, but we really need to recognize that our food is increasingly coming from this complex supply chain and coming from parts of the world where there are not as robust standards and practice. And we cannot be complacent.” This appears to be a reference to a phrase used by House Republicans to justify the proposed cuts in the FDA’s budget for FY 12 that passed the House last week.

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