A recent report, “FDA Science and Mission at Risk” focuses on the failures of the Food and Drug Administration.
The expert panel said public safety is at risk because the agency is so understaffed and underfunded. The 56-page report detailed the fact that the FDA has lost 600 inspectors in the past four years despite the amount of their responsibilities growing.
Bill Hubbard, a former FDA associate commissioner, said, “When I came to the FDA in the early 1970s, we were doing 35,000 food inspections a year. This year, the agency will be doing 6,000.”
The report further stated that the $20 billion pet food industry is regulated by only two people at the FDA. Also the agency’s computer system, which tracks hazardous foods and drugs, frequently breaks down.
Hubbard said, “Imagine having an e-mail system so old, they have to bring technicians out of retirement because current technicians have never seen equipment that old.”
The FDA staff has also been downsized by 14% over the past 14 years.
The report does not blame the FDA, but instead blames Congress for cutting their budget while they ask the FDA to take on more responsibilities.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, said, “The essence is, send me a plan, ask for money, and we’ll consider it. But they never ask for more money or authority.”
Source: ABC News