Slate has a copy of the email sent by Margaret Glavin, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, in response to the recent poor food safety ratings flap at the House Energy and Commerce hearings.
For those of you not in the know, in the hearings Rep. Whitfield (R-Ky) asked a number of FDA food safety experts to rate the quality of FDA food safety inspections. The experts rated the FDA generally between 2 and five. This is consistent with a CDC report from earlier this year which noted that food-borne illness levels had leveled off in 2000 and were on the rise.
The email states that the associate commissioner is “deeply saddened” at the ratings which these food safety experts — who work for the FDA — gave the agency, and further states that the ratings are “not an accurate reflection”.
The CDC report suggests otherwise.
Also in the Slate link, the responses of Reps. John Dingell (D-Mich) and Bart Stupach (D-Mich) to Glavin’s letter. The Congressmen wrote to FDA Commissioner Andrew Eschenbach asking whether / how he intends to punish Glavin for retaliating against and intimidating those who testified. Worth a read.
Update: According to this AP article, FDA staffers were not in fact “deeply saddened by the assessment because [they] know it is an inaccurate reflection.” See here:
One employee who testified said no one in the FDA’s field offices took the poor grades as a “slam on their efforts.”
“It’s not because we are doing a bad job,” said Ann Adams, director of the FDA’s Kansas City district laboratory in Lenexa, Kan. “We are doing an incredible job with what we have available. The problem is we can’t be doing everything we should be doing. We just don’t have the people. We just don’t have the money.”
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