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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed whether the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could rely more on state agencies to inspect the sanitation conditions of the food manufacturing establishments in its current inventory.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Health and Human Services 1. The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner, FDA, to review the current inventory and determine the establishments that should be removed, considering state inspection frequency, policies, results, interstate commerce, and sales volume.
Closed - Implemented
FDA adopted criteria for allocating resources for food sanitation inspections. A forthcoming report will assess this criteria.
Department of Health and Human Services 2. The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner, FDA, in conjunction with state inspection agencies, to begin developing a strategy for future inspection of establishments with a history of serious or very serious sanitation problems to help ensure that these establishments are in compliance with applicable food laws and regulations.
Closed - Implemented
In 1987, FDA was directed to focus attention on problem firms. However, a forthcoming report will show that little has changed and that FDA needs to take additional action.
Department of Health and Human Services 3. The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Commissioner, FDA, to consider the current level and allocation of inspection resources devoted to the food sanitation programs and make appropriate adjustments, recognizing the reduced inventory and extent of inspection coverage needed to adequately monitor food manufacturing establishments.
Closed - Implemented
FDA indicated that it has reduced its inspections of food establishments. However, based on recent work, GAO noted that some establishments are still being inspected although they appear to be the states' responsibility. A forthcoming GAO report will recommend that establishments not be inspected routinely and FDA should stop inspecting establishments being inspected by states.

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