In 2005, the FDA required certain categories of manufacturers to keep records about the source, transporters, and recipients of their products. Recently, the Inspector General of the FDA’s parent agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, conducted an exercise to see whether traceability was working. Inspectors bought 4 samples of 10 different food products (e.g., bottled water, oatmeal, tomatoes) at retail stores and attempted to track their supply chains. Oops. It only could trace 5. For another 31, it could make educated guesses. But nearly 60% of food facilities handling these products could not complete the tracing and 25% did not know they were supposed to.
The FDA, says the Inspector General, needs statutory authority to require producers to know their supply chains and everybody involved needs some education about how to do this. No wonder we are still getting daily recalls of products containing peanut better. Statutory authority means Congress. I wish Congress would get busy on this!
Next public appearance
New Directions in the Fight Against Hunger and Malnutrition: A Festschrift in Honor of Per Pinstrup-Andersen. Cornell University, Statler Hotel Amphitheater. The conference begins at 7:30 a.m. with breakfast and ends with a reception the following day with remarks by professor Pinstrup-Andersen at 2:25 p.m. For the schedule and details, click here.
My joint contribution with Malden Nesheim is from 1:40-2:00 p.m. on “the internationalization of the obesity epidemic: the case of sugar-sweetened sodas.”