Statement of Jim O'Hara, PSP Director, in response to GAO report highlighting the need for improved FDA oversight of fresh produce
The GAO found that the FDA lacks the critical resources necessary for protecting Americans' health when it comes to food safety. The lack of resources, resulting in too few inspections, too little enforcement and too many gaps in scientific research, is not new and clearly needs to be addressed.
More important is the need for political will to establish mandatory and enforceable safety standards for produce. A recent Produce Safety Project poll found 72% of likely voters supporting new federal regulations even if they raise the cost of fruits and vegetables.
Moving forward immediately on federal produce safety standards will be one of the first tests facing a new administration.
The GAO report is available here.
The Produce Safety Project at Georgetown University seeks the establishment by the Food and Drug Administration of mandatory and enforceable safety standards for domestic and imported fresh produce, from farm to fork. Our families need to have confidence that federal food safety regulation is based on prevention, scientifically sound risk assessment and management, and coordinated integrated data collection. For more information online, visit www.producesafetyproject.org.