Should The FDA Inspect Non-Meat Food Plants More Than Once A Decade?

Back in the day, slaughterhouses were the ones grabbing the attention when it came to health concerns and the need for inspectors from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on a regular basis to ensure food was safe. Now, the Food and Drug Administration checks in on most of what we eat — and they only inspect plants around once a decade, says one report.

The Washington Post looks into the recent pressure on the FDA to change how it inspects plants where seafood, vegetables, fruit, dairy products, shelled eggs and other non-meat and poultry items are processed.

Recent outbreaks of bacteria and other instances of contaminated food linked to foods like cantaloupe and spinach have prompted a call for the FDA to work more on prevention, rather than just responding to problems. A new law from Congress a year ago told the FDA they must make that kind of shift. But the lack of money to fund the inspections needed to make sure companies are up to snuff.

It’s important, as the Center for Disease Control reported last year that fruits and nuts were linked to the most illnesses, followed by vegetables that grow on vines and stalks.

If meat can’t leave a plant without a stamp from the USDA, perhaps it’s time the other food we eat is also required to undergo daily inspection at the source.

Safety concerns, industry changes push U.S. to rethink approach to food inspection [Washington Post]

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  1. Marlin says:

    Hard for them to do that when they can barly afford to do inspections they carry out now and republicans cough big business cough are cutting their budget by almost 300million next year.

  2. crispyduck13 says:

    So give them less money and tell them to do 300% more work. Well, at least one government agency is being treated like the majority of working stiffs in America.

  3. RedOryx says:

    CenterS for Disease Control.

    Yes. That is all I came to say.

    • AtlantaCPA says:

      I’ll add: “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention”

      I know a ton more people who work in the Prevention part. It gets them all riled up when the name of the agency is misquoted. (the article got it right, consumerist flubbed it… shocker)

  4. TuxthePenguin says:

    I guess the question we should ask is what could we do to be more effective with our regulations. If we really wanted, we could pay to have someone standing and inspect every nut as it goes by… but that would be so costly that it wouldn’t be possible. That’s what most people in these discussions don’t want to admit. What is the acceptable level of failure?

  5. Driblis says:

    “But the lack of money to fund the inspections needed to make sure companies are up to snuff.” Nice sentence fragment! Though i assume you mean “they” lack the funds.

    Anyway this sort of mismanagement is hardly a surprise.

    • sirwired says:

      It’s not mis-mangagement when the FDA cannot set their own budget. That is Congress’s job. The FDA can (and does) submit a proposed budget, but Congress futzes with it at their whim.

  6. sirwired says:

    Can somebody explain to me, using small words, why they don’t move food out from under the FDA and send it to the USDA, where it makes a LOT more sense to have it? The current setup leads to absurdities where a frozen cheeze pizza is under FDA jurisdiction, but a frozen pepperoni pizza, produced on the same line, is a USDA-regulated product.

    Food safety gets short shrift at the FDA because it’s a lot less glamorous than the part regulating drugs.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      Food safety gets short shrift at the FDA because it’s a lot less glamorous than the part regulating drugs.

      Um, then shouldn’t we be asking our political leaders to figure out why the hell the FOOD and Drug Administration is only doing half their work?

  7. JohnDeere says:

    the fda should inspect everything we ingest quarterly…..

  8. SeattleSeven says:

    KEEP THE GOVNMINT OUTTA MY FOODS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    THE MANGER AT WALMART IS VEERY NICE AND ALWAY LOOKS AT THE FRUT WHEN HIM PUTS IT OUT ON THE SHELF

    HE DONT NEED NO GOVNMINT HELP WIT THAT.

    OBAMA SUKS