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October 25, 1985

Field staff: inspect, initiate enforcement, investigate

JAMA. 1985;254(16):2199-2200. doi:10.1001/jama.1985.03360160025003

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The FDA's field organization consists of ten regional offices, 22 district offices, and approximately 125 resident inspection posts, staffed by 2,600 persons who are responsible for performing the agency's inspections, investigations, and analytical work, and for recommending enforcement actions.

Regional offices are located in the country's larger cities, providing overall direction for field activities within their territories. According to William Schwemer, assistant associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, the directors of these offices have primary responsibility for coordinating a number of state/federal programs, such as assuring compliance with standards for milk shipment and interstate travel sanitation.

The bulk of the day-to-day field work, however, takes place in the district offices. Each of these offices has three branches—administrative, investigative, and compliance, and each has laboratory support. (According to Schwemer, these laboratories have become more specialized in recent years and there are no longer single laboratories that can do all the necessary analytical