December 6, 2022

Volume XII, Number 340

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December 06, 2022

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December 05, 2022

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Congress Voices Concern Over FDA’s Food Safety Actions

  • On April 11, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), who leads the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, sent a letter to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf about her concerns over a report that described “longstanding, significant delays and dysfunction across food safety efforts” at the Agency and requests that the Commissioner make food safety issues a priority and take immediate action to ensure the FDA fulfills all aspects of its public health mission. Senator Murray goes further stating that “[t]he FDA’s failure over decades to regulate and enforce food safety standards, on issues ranging from bacteria in vegetables to arsenic in baby food, has put the health of Americans at risk.”

  • Referring to a recent report from Politico, Senator Murray states that the FDA’s predominant focus has been on drugs and devices, despite overseeing nearly 80% of the American food supply. In her letter, Senator Murray notes she is concerned the FDA has not yet imposed strict safety standards with regards to heavy metals found in baby food, finalized long-term voluntary reduction targets for sodium in food, or ensured timely inspections and recalls, which are “critical for ensuring food is free of bacteria and other harmful contaminants.”

  • By April 25, Senator Murray requests the Agency provide her with the following information:

    • Steps the FDA is taking or planning to take to improve food safety efforts, including the timeliness and rigor of regulatory and enforcement activities;

    • Whether the FDA has assessed the causes of delays in addressing water used to grow produce, heavy metals in baby food, and sodium levels in food. If so, what were the results of the assessments;

    • Steps the FDA is taking to ensure the Agency’s organizational structure supports timely and effective food-related decision-making; and

    • The number of food safety inspections conducted over the past 10 years, as well as the number of food and food packaging samples tested for toxic elements.

  • Senator Murray has not been the only Congress member with concerns. Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ) tweeted that he is requesting a briefing from the Agency, and House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn) also tweeted “The ‘F’ in FDA has come to mean ‘failure’ on food safety. We must greatly intensify the pressure to get the FDA to do its job and to keep American people safe and alive.”

© 2022 Keller and Heckman LLPNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 103
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About this Author

Keller and Heckman offers global food and drug services to its clients. Our comprehensive and extensive food and drug practice is one of the largest in the world. We promote, protect, and defend products made by the spectrum of industries regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Commission and Member States authorities in the European Union (EU) and similar authorities throughout the world. The products we help get to market include foods, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, veterinary products, dietary supplements, and cosmetics. In addition...

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