Just before Christmas, on December 22, 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issued a report condemning FDA’s system of monitoring food recalls and charging FDA with failing to protect the nation’s food supply.
OIG found that FDA did not always follow its own procedures, that FDA lacked sufficient food safety staff, and that the food safety staff that FDA did have had not been properly trained.
As a result, on average, 57 days elapsed between the time FDA became aware of unsafe food and the time the recall took place.
In other words, on average, unsafe food stays on retailers shelves for almost 2 months before customers are notified. FDA recalled almost 800 food products in 2016.
OIG also found that:
- FDA did not always ensure that manufacturers recalling unsafe food did so properly;
- FDA did not always assess the health hazards of the recalled food quickly enough;
- FDA did not always monitor the manufacturers’ compliance with their post-recall audit system;
- FDA did not properly track food recall information;
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