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July 2, 2011. Category: Library Articles

Advisory Panel Says FDA Needs Recall Power

The FDA oversees the regulation of medical devices and more than $1 trillion annually worth of food, drugs, dog food, cosmetics, and other products. Yet most consumers may not understand that the FDA cannot currently order a recall of any given product. Instead, it works with companies to arrange voluntary recalls. An advisory commission created in response to public outrage over recalls just this year alone involving tainted dog food, toothpaste, and lead in toys will recommend to President Bush that the FDA should be empowered to order mandatory recalls of consumer products. The commission is also urging an increased presence of U.S. inspectors in countries that are major exporters to the U.S. The proposals would likewise strengthen the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) which, like the FDA, can only work with industry to arrange voluntary recalls. Under the proposal, the CPSC will be able to issue follow-up recall announcements and impose penalties for criminal offenses. A final recommendation is to establish a certification program (think “seal of approval”) which would make certified suppliers (companies that have a reputation for meeting certification standards) more attractive to retailers. The panel was led by Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt.

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