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]