GAO: FDA can better oversee food imports by assessing and leveraging other countries’ oversight resources

Audits and inspections have problems – so the feds should leverage resources in other countries to monitor the safety of U.S. food imports.

I see problems there as well.

A new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office concludes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should use comparability assessments that can enable the agency to leverage other countries’ oversight capacity and enforcement authority. This could result in some of the same advantages as the equivalence approach used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) and the European Union (EU) before specific food products can be imported.

Unless, like USDA, they just stop doing the equivalency audits.

Or, as argued by FDA-types, the agency expects few countries to seek comparability with the United States because, in part, most countries will not meet the FDA requirement that a foreign government’s domestic and export food safety systems be comparable to the U.S. system for food products under FDA’s jurisdiction. According to FDA documents, some countries have robust export certification programs for a specific food product, but their overall food safety systems, including domestic production systems, may not be comparable with those of the United States. Consequently, FDA would be unable to leverage the resources of countries with comparable systems for just one food product, such as seafood, which FDA has experience in assessing through its foreign country assessments.