GAO’s recommendations database contains report recommendations that still need to be addressed.
GAO’s priority recommendations are those that we believe warrant priority attention.
We sent letters to the heads of key departments and agencies, urging them to continue focusing on these issues.
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As of February 9, 2020, there are 4958 open recommendations, of which 422 are priority recommendations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented.
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Recommendation: The Commissioner of FDA should coordinate and communicate with FSIS in developing drug residue testing methods and corresponding maximum residue levels for imported seafood that may also be applicable to imported catfish. (Recommendation 4)
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Food and Drug Administration Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: FDA agreed with this recommendation. According to FDA officials, the agency shared its testing methods for two drugs with FSIS and as of as of April 17, 2019, FSIS and FDA were using the same method for measuring and confirming these two unapproved drugs. In December 2019, FDA told GAO that the agencies share information on their testing methods and instrumentation. Once FDA establishes an import tolerance level, FDA communicates the corresponding analytical method information and tolerance level to FSIS, according to FDA. We commend FDA and FSIS for taking these steps to share information on testing methods. However, GAO found that the agencies continue to use different multi-residue testing methods that look for different numbers of drugs--99 for FSIS and 40 for FDA--which results in the agencies using different maximum residue levels for some drugs. FDA's method can detect drugs that FSIS's does not and can detect some drugs at lower levels. FSIS's multi-residue method can detect 59 more drugs than FDA's method. The agencies do not have any plans to work on a multi-residue method both agencies can use.
Recommendation: The Administrator of FSIS should coordinate and communicate with FDA in developing drug residue testing methods and corresponding maximum residue levels for imported catfish that may also be applicable to other imported seafood. (Recommendation 5)
Agency: Department of Agriculture: Food Safety and Inspection Service Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: According to FSIS officials, the agency is using an FDA method for detecting two unapproved drugs. In December 2019, FSIS told GAO that it will continue to coordinate with FDA on methods and corresponding maximum residue levels (MRLs) through its existing coordination mechanisms. We commend FSIS and FDA for taking these steps to share information on testing methods. However, FSIS said it had no plans to change its current method of coordination. FSIS will continue to use its own multi-residue method--this method tests for 99 drugs--when testing the products it regulates, including meat, poultry, and catfish, and the MRLs that accompany that method. Likewise, FDA said it will continue to use its own multi-residue method--this method tests for 40 drugs. FSIS's multi-residue method can detect more drugs than FDA's multi-residue method, but FDA's method can detect drugs FSIS's does not and can detect some drugs at lower levels. The agencies do not have any plans to work on a multi-residue method both agencies can use.