A new report points out serious problems with U.S. food safety. Steven Reinberg of HealthDay News is on it:
Gaps in the food safety system include out-of-date laws, poor use of resources, and inconsistencies among agencies protecting food safety, according to the report Fixing Food Safety: Protecting America's Food From Farm-to-Fork, released Wednesday by Trust for America's Health.Perhaps the FDA is feeling the heat because the agency is looking to add 1,300 people to its staff. Reuters reports:
"One in four Americans are sickened by food-borne illness each year, that's 76 million people," Jeffrey Levi, executive director of Trust for America's Health said during a morning teleconference Wednesday. "That number is far too high, and major gaps in our nation's food safety system are to blame."
"The major problem with the current food safety system is that no one person is in charge," Levi said. "Instead, there are total of 15 federal agencies that play a role in administering some 30 laws related to food safety."
The whole system needs to change from one that responds to threats as they happen to a more preventive system that tackles challenges before they arise, Levi said. At the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food safety is on the back burner, he added.
The hiring effort, first reported by Reuters, comes as the agency is under growing pressure from Congress to improve operations and existing staff is stretched thin.I’m not sure, is the FDA somehow being proactive, or, EXTREMELY reactionary. I’m leaning towards the latter.
The new hires will add to the current FDA work force of more than 10,000 employees who regulate food, drugs and other products that account for a quarter of U.S. consumer spending.
Some 770 of the jobs are new posts funded mainly by higher industry fees authorized last year in a broad FDA law meant to bolster drug safety oversight and other areas.