A recent report prepared by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the FDA’s monitoring of fresh produce is deficient. In fiscal 2007, the FDA spent a minimum of $20.2 million, approximately 3% of its food safety expenditures, on fresh produce oversight. The FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs accounted for 82% of this spending, and the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition accounted for 18%. Between fiscal 2002 and 2007, less than 1% of the 7.6 million lines of imported produce were inspected. A shortage of resources, competing demands and lack of scientific knowledge have constrained the FDA’s efforts. In addition, the FDA has not issued any enforceable regulations to safeguard produce from contamination. Problems were found in 43% of the inspections conducted by the FDA and states in fiscal 2007. For imported produce, pesticide testing is a focus. In fiscal 2007, 82% of imported and domestic fresh produce samples were tested for pesticides, and 17% were tested for microbial contamination.

Source: GAO

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