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Open Recommendations

USDA Food Box Program: Key Information and Opportunities to Better Assess Performance

GAO-21-353
Sep 08, 2021
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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should take steps to apply the lesson learned from the Food Box Program regarding collecting and analyzing data to assess program goals to current and future emergency food assistance programs. (Recommendation 1)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Imported Agriculture: Updated Planning and Communication Could Enhance Agency Coordination of Inspections

GAO-21-471
Jun 01, 2021
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5 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
United States Customs and Border Protection The Commissioner of CBP, in collaboration with the Director of APHIS, should report on the CBP-APHIS Joint Agency Task Force's progress in meeting its objectives for the 2014–2019 strategic plan, and develop periodic progress reports for future strategic plans. (Recommendation 1)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service The Director of APHIS, in collaboration with the Commissioner of CBP, should report on the CBP-APHIS Joint Agency Task Force's progress in meeting its objectives for the 2014–2019 strategic plan, and develop periodic progress reports for future strategic plans. (Recommendation 2)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
United States Customs and Border Protection The Commissioner of CBP, in collaboration with the Director of APHIS, should update the CBP-APHIS Joint Agency Task Force Strategic Plan. (Recommendation 3)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service The Director of APHIS, in collaboration with the Commissioner of CBP, should update the CBP-APHIS Joint Agency Task Force Strategic Plan. (Recommendation 4)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
United States Customs and Border Protection The Commissioner of CBP, with input from the Director of FWS, should review CBP's existing guidance on communication with FWS at U.S. ports of entry and update the guidance where necessary. (Recommendation 5)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Farm Programs: USDA Should Take Additional Steps to Ensure Compliance with Wetland Conservation Provisions

GAO-21-241
May 04, 2021
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6 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Natural Resources Conservation Service The Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service should oversee state offices to ensure that they conduct quality control reviews of wetland determinations as directed in the agency's manual. (Recommendation 1)
Open
In its comments on our draft report, the Natural Resources Conservation Service agreed with our recommendation and estimated that it would complete the action by February 2022.
Natural Resources Conservation Service The Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service should update the template for appeal decision letters accompanying final wetland determinations to stipulate that the letters must include specific facts providing the basis for the determinations, as called for in the agency's appeals manual. (Recommendation 2)
Open
In comments on our draft report, the Natural Resources Conservation Service agreed with our recommendation about updating the template for appeal decision letters and said it would do so by the end of February 2022.
Natural Resources Conservation Service The Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service should clarify agency guidance on how wetland specialists are to apply the agency's procedures for wetland determinations, particularly related to the best-drained condition standard. (Recommendation 3)
Open
In comments on our draft report, the Natural Resources Conservation Service agreed that additional guidance is needed for the best-drained condition standard.
Natural Resources Conservation Service The Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service should clarify guidance on the annual compliance check (in its National Food Security Act Manual) to ensure that a risk-based approach is used in selecting a sample, which could include using crop acreage reports and other sources of information to identify anomalies associated with higher-risk tracts. (Recommendation 4)
Open
In comments on our draft report, the Natural Resources Conservation Service agreed with our recommendation and said it would work with the Farm Service Agency and the Risk Management Agency to develop an approach for sample selection by the end of February 2022.
Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should ensure that the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service instructs state and field offices to consistently report any potential violations they observe. (Recommendation 5)
Open
In commenting on our draft report, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) agreed that policy clarification is needed and said the agency would develop policy that clearly identifies when NRCS will submit reports of potential violations.
Farm Service Agency The FSA Administrator should strengthen agency guidance to specify what constitutes adequate justification and documentation for decisions to grant good-faith waivers. (Recommendation 6)
Open
In its comments on our draft report, FSA agreed with our recommendation and stated that it will strengthen county committee guidance to identify parameters for adequate justification and documentation.

Imported Seafood Safety: FDA Should Improve Monitoring of Its Warning Letter Process and Better Assess Its Effectiveness

GAO-21-231
Mar 19, 2021
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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Food and Drug Administration The Commissioner of FDA should establish a process to monitor whether the agency is consistently following key procedures and meeting key goals for its imported seafood warning letters, and take corrective action when necessary. This could be done through regularly analyzing data that FDA collects, such as those in CMS and FACTS. (Recommendation 1)
Open
FDA agreed with our recommendation that it establish a process to monitor whether the agency is consistently following key procedures and key goals for its imported seafood warning letters, and take corrective action when necessary. In September 2021, FDA stated that it is developing a warning letter tracking dashboard that will be used to gather and analyze relevant data, such as those in CMS and FACTS, to enable the agency to focus on monitoring follow-up activity timeframes. In addition, FDA is working on updating a Field Management Directive to clarify the agency's goal for official action indicated (OAI) follow-up inspections and to ensure final OAI classifications are made in a timely manner. We will continue to follow up with FDA on these open recommendations.
Food and Drug Administration The Commissioner of FDA should develop performance goals and measures to assess the effectiveness of its warning letters in ensuring the safety of imported seafood. Such measures could include, but need not be limited to, the percentage of warning letters cases that have been resolved, either through a closeout letter or import alert placement, within 1 year of being issued. (Recommendation 2)
Open
FDA agreed with our recommendation to develop performance goals and measures to assess the effectiveness of its warning letters in ensuring the safety of imported seafood. As of September 2021, FDA stated that it is continuing to evaluate and establish measures that could assist the agency in better assessing the effectiveness of its warning letter strategies to ensure the safety of imported seafood, including the percentage of warning letters cases that have been resolved through a close-out letter, import alert, or other appropriate action, within 1 year of issuance. In addition, FDA is in the process of expanding performance measures to include measures specific to both seafood and compliance and enforcement strategies.
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