Food protection systems in the United States are in need of "a major overhaul" having avoided serious restructuring for more than 100 years.
That’s the claim of the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), which is calling for root-and-branch reform of the Food and Drug Administration.
And according to TFAH executive director Jeff Levi, any such overhaul must be matched by major investment to drive the required change.
"The FDA should articulate to Congress and the American people what resources are needed over the long-term to achieve the goals and define milestones for how to measure success," he remarked.
The call for the FDA to be given greater weight comes at a turbulent time for the agency as it seeks to brush off criticism of its handling of the recent melamine scare relating to milk-based products from China.
According to the TFAH, nearly one in four Americans get sick each year as a result of food-borne illness. This is at an estimated cost to the economy of $44 billion.
Yesterday the FDA published an update on its food protection program, which was officially launched a year ago and is designed to improve food safety in domestic and imported produce.