Lawmakers Demand Answers From Fda After Investigation On Food Failures

Posted: Apr 13, 2022

The chairs of two powerful committees in the House and Senate that oversee FDA are demanding answers in response to a POLITICO investigation into the agency’s failure to act on a slew of pressing food safety and nutrition issues.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wa.), who leads the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, sent a strongly-worded letter to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf Monday afternoon seeking “immediate action to ensure the FDA is doing all it can to fulfill all aspects of its mission to protect the health and safety of the American people.”

Murray, the number three Democrat in the Senate, asked for an outline of steps the commissioner plans to take to improve food safety, in writing, by April 25. Murray also asked the agency to explain the delays outlined by POLITICO’s lengthy report and outline what steps might be taken to fix the leadership structure within the foods division at FDA.

The chair also requested a detailed breakdown from FDA on how many food safety inspections have been conducted each year over the past decade and what kind of food and food packaging testing has been done. The number of routine food safety inspections has been going down despite increased resources from Congress.

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, tweeted Monday that he is requesting a briefing from the agency. “This reporting raises many concerns, which is why I’m requesting a briefing from @US_FDA as the Committee continues to prioritize the safety of the nation’s food supply,” Pallone wrote.

House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) also tweeted criticism over the weekend: “The ‘F’ in FDA has come to mean ‘failure’ on food safety,” she wrote. “We must greatly intensify the pressure to get the FDA to do its job and to keep the American people safe and alive. The time for an overhaul of their priorities is now.”

By Helena Bottemiller Evich
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