By Dan Shapley
A new high-level official will coordinate food security efforts at the Food and Drug Administration, but critics will not be satisfied until there is a comprehensive inspection system, and enough inspectors to execute it. Officials emphasized again that they see no risk to human health from the latest scare, but the contamination of pet foods and animal feed with melamine-tainted ingredients from China, and the subsequent pet food recall and investigation, has exposed large gaps
in U.S. food inspection system. The FDA still cannot require foreign producers to adhere to American food safety standards, even though the Department of Agriculture has that authority when it comes to imported meat, poultry and eggs. And USDA inspectors check on each facility in their jurisdiction daily, whereas FDA inspectors visit domestic facilities only once every few years, at no set interval. Congress has held hearings on the issue. We can expect that the appointment of a new food safety czar is only the first move.