Peanut woes and the FDA

In February, a Congressional committee grilled witnesses including representatives of FDA, its Georgia counterpart agency, and two testing labs who served the beleaguered Peanut Corporation of America.

PCA’s reps, wisely, pleaded the 5th and refused to testify. Time and again, the questions came back to how FDA has done its jobs of oversight, investigation, and enforcement, whether it could do them better if it could order recalls or if it could inspect documents at food plants, or if the labs were obligated to report bad results to FDA. Most of these ideas are not new. On the contrary, they’re parts of bills already being batted around Congress, bills that sometimes also call for the creation of a new federal food safety agency. These ideas and these bills now have got more momentum than ever behind them, and the political climate seems poised for big changes in FDA’s powers. We’ll have a better idea of how things will shake out when President Obama names his new FDA commissioner.
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