Wednesday, February 06, 2008

FDA looks for "boots on the ground" in China

First it was China...

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is hoping to bolster the safety of food and other products imported from China by opening a new Food and Drug Administration office in the Asian nation.

"We will be able to continue to expand our own ability to leverage, beyond simply sending inspectors over, but to have people in place," FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach said during the Reuters Regulatory Summit here.

"We're boots on the ground," he said.

FDA officials see the office, which must be approved by the Chinese government and funded by Congress, as a model for outposts elsewhere, which in an era of globalized trade would shift much of the burden for safe imports to producer countries instead of relying on inspections at home.
Von Eschenbach said FDA officials in China, rather than regularly patrolling factories, would seek to create more stringent safety standards among producers and would look to strengthen regulation by Chinese government.

Basing officials in China would also allow the FDA to move quickly when problems do arise, rather than having to secure visas or make long trips before setting off to inspect problem facilities.

link to full article

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