FDA Reverses Course, Decides Now Might Not Be The Time To Close Half Its Field Labs

Bowing to pressure from Congress, the FDA has decided not to close more than half of its field labs. The ill-timed plan to consolidate seven of the agency’s thirteen labs in the name of efficiency and modernization was already under review by a Presidential panel, and had raised the ire of the powerful Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, John Dingell, who recently introduced legislation to block the reorganization.

From Reuters:

“To assure our success and allow additional time to gather input, I am cancelling plans for the rollout of all changes to our organizational structure,” FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs Margaret Glavin said in an e-mail to colleagues about the food labs.

FDA spokeswoman Julie Zawisza said the statement did not mean the agency had canceled its intention to reorganize the labs. “We are evaluating how to proceed with the reorganization based on forthcoming recommendations” from a presidential panel on import safety and other input, she said.

Here’s an idea: admit that you are an underfunded agency in desperate need of additional resources and authority to fulfill your mission as a defender of the public health. Then, since you have already accepted one of his ideas as reasonable, support Chairman Dingell’s draft bill to improve the safety of our imported food.

FDA decides against closing food-testing labs [Reuters]
PREVIOUSLY: Congress Prepares The FDA For Battle With The Chinese Poison Train
(Photo: Dave-F)

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  1. Two thoughts – either the Bush Administration really is evil enough to want to cripple the FDA in the name of small government, or this is the worst attempt at a “Washington Monument” budget stand-off ever.

    According to this strategy, every time the Nat’l Parks budget gets cut, they announce reduced hours at the Washington Monument. Nevermind that it has no basis in reality, it’s an accepted budgeting ploy – close down your most visible function to get money for the important behind-the-scenes stuff.

    So either the FDA chief secretly WANTED Dingell to call him out on closing the labs so the dep’t could get more $$$ to staff them, or BushCo really thinks government doesn’t have a place in making sure our food is safe. I’m really hoping it’s the former.

  2. hoo_foot says:

    The FDA hasn’t been a “defender of public health” in the better part of a decade.

  3. timmus says:

    It sucks that presumably the only reason they’re stepping up to the plate is to get another lick in with the anti-China rhetoric.