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The New York Times this morning reports that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to release a report today that will suggest “a ‘hugely ambitious’ campaign to reshape its food inspection arm to root out safety hazards through things like sophisticated software and certifiers from the private sector.

According to the story, “Given the cost and logistics of inspecting each company, the agency is shifting toward a more risk-based approach that would use vast quantities of data to pinpoint areas of risk and deploy resources accordingly. The offices overseas will try to build relationships with foreign regulators and develop information on foreign manufacturers.

“For instance, the agency hopes that companies will hire reliable third-party auditors to inspect facilities because it does not have the personnel to do so. In exchange, companies would be cleared to import their products to the United States with less chance of inspection or bureaucratic roadblocks. In addition, the agency is hoping to deploy a sophisticated screening program, used successfully on seafood, to better identify high-risk foods at the border.”

Dr. David Acheson, the agency’s associate commissioner for foods, tells the Times that the overhaul is already underway, but concedes that FDA does not have the budget at present to put all of its plans to effect.

KC's View:
The FDA’s biggest problem at present is a singular lack of credibility and an apparent unwillingness to be as transparent as it needs to be. Which will undermine all of its goals and plans far more than lack of money.