A 2010 report by the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council entitled Enhancing Food Safety: The Role of the Food and Drug Administration states that the FDA ‘lacks the vision’ and resources to protect consumers from unsafe food and foodborne illness. The report calls for more proactive instead of reactive measures, and asks the FDA to focus on more wide-spread measures to protect the food supply rather than trying to take cases on one by one.
Robert Wallace, a professor at the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health and the chairman of the committee that authorized the report said:
“As recent illnesses traced to produce underscore, foodborne diseases cause significant suffering, so it’s imperative that our food safety system functions effectively at all levels. FDA uses some risk assessment and management tactics, but the agency’s approach is too often reactive and lacks a systematic focus on prevention. Our report’s recommendations aim to help FDA achieve a comprehensive vision for proactively protecting against threats to the nation’s food supply. . . foodborne diseases cause significant suffering, so it’s imperative that our food safety system functions effectively at all levels.”
Unfortunately, many of the report’s suggestions have little bravado in suggesting reform at the deepest level, for example, getting those who are colluding with corporations like Monsanto out of the government due to a conflict of interest. As long as the agency is accepting scientific inquiry conducted by the companies themselves and not a neutral, third party, especially in the case of GMO crops, then it hardly matters if the agency is given greater authority (as in the recent allowances to the FDA which allow them to recall a product that a company produced when it is tainted, without negotiating with the business that created it.)