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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Moreover, when implemented, some of our priority recommendations can save large amounts of money, help Congress make decisions on major issues, and substantially improve or transform major government programs or agencies, among other benefits.
As of June 17, 2020, there are 4969 open recommendations, of which 518 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 in May 2020, the agency coordinates with FDA and EPA to carry out the National Residue Program, which entails testing FSIS-regulated products, including catfish, for chemical compounds of public health concern. FSIS officials indicated that FSIS will continue to use its own test methods that meet the agency's pre-defined quality assurance criteria, are applicable to the particular commodity under its jurisdiction, and fit its business model. Thus, FSIS currently does not have plans to work on a multi-residue method that both it and FDA can use on imported seafood, including catfish, as we have recommended.