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Inspector general report: FDA not prompt in dealing with food recalls

Posted: 11:22 AM, Dec 26, 2017
Updated: 2017-12-26 17:13:48Z

The FDA "does not have adequate procedures to ensure that firms take prompt and effective action in initiating voluntary food recalls."

That's according to a news release from the Office of Inspector General at the Food and Drug Administration.

"We reviewed documentation for 30 voluntary food recalls judgmentally selected from the 1,557 food recalls reported to FDA between October 1, 2012, and May 4, 2015," the release states.

About 80 percent of the food recalled in the U.S. can take up to 10 months to get off shelves. The FDA's staff does not work with sufficient procedures, the report says.

Those procedures would mean staff carrying our recalls would:

"1) evaluate health hazards in a timely manner, (2) issue audit check assignments at the appropriate level, (3) complete audit checks in accordance with its procedures, (4) collect timely and complete status reports from firms that have issued recalls, (5) track key recall data in the RES, and (6) maintain accurate recall data in the RES."

The Office of Inspector General recommends the FDA follow an initiative to establish set timeframes, expedite decision-making and move recall cases forward, and improve electronic recall data

Earlier in 2017, the FDA was getting better at managing food recalls, according to the FDA Voice blog .

""We took to heart issues raised by the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Health and Human Services and have used them as a catalyst for change," the blog stated. "Not just change, but a culture change. At the heart of this change was the creation of  SCORE , which stands for Strategic Coordinated Oversight of Recall Execution.

"We now have FDA compliance, enforcement, and field leaders at the table, reviewing cases every week or more often, as needed. Science and medical officers are engaged in the conversation, as are field investigators, and lawyers," the blog says.

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