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Health Agencies Update
January 26, 2005

Food Safety Questioned

JAMA. 2005;293(4):415. doi:10.1001/jama.293.4.415-d

When the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson resigned from his post last month, he expressed concern about the ability of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to protect the safety of the food supply in the United States. Thompson warned of a possible terrorist attack on food imports from the Middle East or elsewhere and stated that the FDA needs more money from Congress to hire food inspectors and to improve technology.

A few days later, the FDA issued final regulations requiring individuals who manufacture, process, pack, transport, distribute, receive, hold, or import food to establish and maintain records that that will allow officials to trace the source of food contamination caused by any source, including terrorists. Under the new regulations, when the FDA suspects that an article of food presents a threat of serious adverse health consequences to humans or animals, records regarding its history must be available for inspection and copying within 24 hours.

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