Who’s Responsible for Food Safety: FDA, CDC or USDA?
(Thursday, November 4, 2021)
FDA has several programs for assuring food safety and often publishes on various food safety initiatives. But USDA and CDC also play in role in regulating food supply and monitoring for food-borne infections. An article this week describes how despite multiple regulations and programs, several food-borne illnesses go unchecked. According to CDC, about 48 million people get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases each year in the United States. The article describes various limitations in the existing laws that make it impossible for the regulatory agencies to control infections originating in food. In starts with regulations that give the agencies charged with enforcing food safety measures limited jurisdiction over the farms where food is grown. While FDA has announced several programs to assure food safety, none of these would address the issues pointed out for chicken produced by major companies described in the article. There is need for better regulations that provide USDA, CDC, and even FDA greater authority over the food manufacturing operations and farms, but no such rules are in the works and the risk to the food supply seems to have no bounds, particularly for food products directly under USDA’s purview. The article describes a scary scenario for one food product, chicken, where food companies can pretty much sell contaminated food while the CDC and USDA watch helplessly. Whether this is an isolated case for chicken farmers or common across other food products is not known but if the CDC numbers for the incidence rates for food-borne illnesses and death are any indicators, there seems to be a bigger problem with the US food supply chains. Consumers beware.
Dr. Mukesh Kumar
Founder & CEO, FDAMap
Linkedin: Mukesh Kumar, PhD, RAC