US FDA will send more inspectors to China office

Food safety is the responsibility of those who produce food.

Government is there to ensure minimal standards are met.

trade.food.nov.14The best will always far exceed government standards.

But, countries need help, so the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will dispatch more inspectors to China to help ensure the quality of exports, making its China office the largest one overseas.

As early as next year, staff at the China office will be boosted to 21 from the current four, and nine of them will be responsible for food safety, said Christopher J. Hickey, FDA China director. Currently there are only two in food safety, while the rest are in charge of drugs and medical devices.

China is the fourth-largest exporter of food to the US.

Meanwhile, citing a globalized food and drug supply chain, China is also considering sending safety inspectors to the US, said Wu Yongning, chief scientist from the China National Center For Food Safety Risk Assessment.

Wu said that given China’s sheer size, the increase of US FDA inspectors would allow more on-site inspections of particularly high-risk producers.

Michael R. Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods at the Food and Drug Administration, said the staff increase is “important for us as that permits us to work more closely with our Chinese counterparts to become knowledgeable about practices here.”

“We can work with both the Chinese government and the industry to explain our requirements and provide trading support for those exporting to the U.S. to comply with our standards,” he said.

Priorities include agriculture, farm produce, seafood and animal drugs, he noted.