The FDA Wants To Fire 196 Food Safety Analysts

Congress has questions about an internal FDA memo calling for the sacking of 196 food safety analysts. The memo, titled “New Organization Staffing,” was released to the House Energy and Commerce Committee as part of an ongoing investigation into the contamination of spinach, peanut butter, and other assorted items. The FDA currently inspects less than 1% of regulated imports. Chairman John Dingell (D-MI) and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Bart Stupak (D-MI) sent a letter to the FDA expressing their displeasure with the cuts.

    “This number represents 37 percent of the total number of lab analysts currently working in the Office of Regulatory Affairs laboratories,” the letter states. “This slashing of analysts comes after an already 24 percent reduction in lab analysts between 2003 and 2007. To say the least, these numbers are deeply disturbing.”

The analyst cuts are part of a larger FDA plan to close 7 of the 13 labs that test samples from inspections. The FDA is willing to reconsider its position, but it first wants Congress to pony-up more cash. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER

Food safety agency asked to explain proposed analyst cuts [Government Executive]
(Photo: philentropist)

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  1. superlayne says:

    I propose they hire 196 new analysts. Can no one keep our food safe?

  2. zolielo says:

    The USDA and by extension the FSIS take care of the vast majority of food safety. The FDA’s aid could well be redundant.

  3. catnapped says:

    The Bush government at it’s finest.

    “Yer on yer own, suckers!”

  4. karmaghost says:

    Oh yeah! Cutting “food safety” staffing is always a good idea. Who needs more safety anyway?

  5. Chicago7 says:

    All the food problems in the past 5 years or so and they want to do this?

    If they want to save money, get out of Iraq and Afghanistan first. Then we’ll talk about cutting food inspectors. Maybe we need to call bad food “terrorist food”. Then Bush will give BILLIONS, just like he did with Homeland Security.

  6. TalbotD says:

    …well, the obvious consumerist question is:

    ‘How many FDA food-analysts do we need ?’

    Is there any way of estimating that number, or judging how effective the current FDA system is ??

  7. Lordstrom says:

    I don’t need more government safety. Dismantle the entire FDA as far as I’m concerned. Any company stupid enough to not inspect their products will lose gobs of money in lawsuits. That is real oversight.

  8. Chicago7 says:

    @lorddave:

    Who is going to do the testing to prove it was the company’s fault? The guy who gets sick is going to hire somebody? I think not.

  9. huadpe says:

    @lorddave: I am generally for allowing people to sort out most fraud through the civil legal system, but the things FDA inspects/tests can lead to criminal charges (manslaughter/homicide/reckless endangerment/etc.) I would prefer to see FDA folded into DOJ as an investigative body of food and drugs. If I sell toothpaste with poison in it, I am criminally liable. Also, the other problem that FDA handles that can’t be done through civil suits is imports. Good luck enforcing a US court ruling in China.

  10. Havok154 says:

    I have a feeling that this is just a strategy move to attempt to get more money out of the government, especially with all the food problems we’ve been having. They know it won’t go over well to cut food safety analysts while we’re having all of these poisoned foods coming into our country.

  11. ancientsociety says:

    I love how the subcommitees who oversee the government regulatory agencies hardly ever fight for more efficient funding (or, better yet, vote to CUT funding) and then get all huffy when said agency runs into trouble or has to cut out part of their services.