The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today released a report summarising what officials have described as a “highly ambitious” campaign to reform its food inspection system.
The initial Food Protection Plan was launched a year ago to protect both domestic and imported food from contamination, but it has received criticism for its failure to provide details on costs and specific strategies.
The report reveals that the agency has approved the use of irradiation to combat the likes of E. coli and salmonella on iceberg lettuce and spinach, and is working to identify best practices for tracing fresh produce throughout the supply chain.
In addition, the agency is opening five offices abroad, in China, India, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, to improve monitoring of exports to the US.
Andrew C. von Eschenbach, the commissioner of food and drugs, commented: “Science and 21st century technologies help drive the FDA’s efforts to transform our food safety efforts from the Food Protection Plan into a reality. Every day, the FDA is working with foreign countries, state and local governments, regulated industry and consumer groups to ensure the safety of the food supply. We also continue to work with members of Congress to achieve new authorities requested in the Food Protection Plan.”