GAO: FDA should be clearer on food safety plan

Christopher Doering of Reuters reports that the U.S. Government Accountability Office said in a report today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s failure to discuss clearly its strategy and the money needed to better protect the country’s food supply could make it harder for a plan to succeed.

The GAO report also noted that FDA must better leverage its existing resources "as staffing levels and funding have not kept pace with the agency’s growing responsibilities" to oversee the food supply.

GAO noted that even as food imports surge, FDA inspectors of foreign food firms has dropped from 211 in fiscal year 2001 to fewer than 100 in 2007. About 15 percent of the overall U.S. food supply is imported.

Rep. John Dingell, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce committee, said,

"Our constituents are growing weary of these events. They are losing confidence in this agency’s ability to protect them from the products they use daily."