The Baez Law Firm | San Antonio Lawyers and Attorneys

The Baez Law Firm | San Antonio Lawyers and Attorneys
San Antonio Lawyers and Attorneys

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Panel: Give FDA Power To Order Recalls

WASHINGTON (AP) - An advisory panel will recommend to President Bush today that the Food and Drug Administration be empowered to order mandatory recalls of products deemed a risk to consumers, an administration official said Monday.The panel was created in response to concerns about recalls of dangerous toothpaste, dog food and toys. Currently, the FDA lacks the authority to order a recall of products when problems arise, and must work with producers on voluntary recalls. The new proposal would give the agency far more clout.The panel also will urge increasing the presence of U.S. inspectors from Customs, the Border Patrol, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and other agencies in countries that are major exporters to the United States.

The official said that the commission would have greater recall authority, including the ability to stop products from entering the commerce stream - before unsafe or unreliable products end up on the shelves. He did not elaborate.The official said the proposals would strengthen the commission's authority by making it illegal for firms to knowingly sell a recalled product; by authorizing the panel to issue follow-up recall announcements; and by requiring recalling companies to report supplier and delivery information. Further, the commission would be able to impose asset forfeiture penalties for criminal offenses.A third recommendation calls for establishing a certification program - likened to a seal of approval - for companies with a proven track record of meeting safety standards.

The administration sees that as a powerful tool because it presumably would make certified suppliers more attractive to large retailers.In addition, regulators would be able to concentrate on countries and companies that do not have a reputation for meeting certification standards.Bush will receive the recommendations today from the advisory commission established in July to study import safety. The panel was led by Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt.Details of the commission's recommendations were disclosed by an administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity.The FDA oversees the regulation of more than $1 trillion annually of food, drugs, cosmetics and other products.

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