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CFS files lawsuit against FDA

The CFS has filed a lawsuit against the FDA for its “failure to establish a programme to rapidly detect foodborne illness outbreaks”.

A lawsuit has been filed against the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its failure to establish a programme to rapidly detect and respond to foodborne illness outbreaks.

The lawsuit has been filed by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) as the FDA was required to establish programmes testing foods at accredited laboratories (including model standards for those programmes) by the Food Safety Modernisation Act (FSMA).

“Accurate laboratory testing is essential to reduce the foodborne illness threat,” said Ryan Talbott, Staff Attorney at Center for Food Safety . “FDA was required to establish a comprehensive food testing programme years ago, but has yet to do so.

We will hold FDA accountable and protect the public health, as we always have.”

US Congress required the FDA to establish a food testing programme by January 2013 but the FDA has yet to do so.

US Congress required the FDA to establish a food testing programme by January 2013, with testing to begin six months later. Congress also required the FDA to establish a publicly available registry of accreditation bodies and accredited laboratories, and to develop model standards that a laboratory must meet in order to be accredited. These requirements are critical to FDA’s ability to increase the number of food inspections that FSMA calls for in order to rapidly detect and respond to foodborne illness outbreaks.

However, the FDA has yet to take any of these required actions to establish a programme. During these six years, a number of food safety illness episodes have occurred, including last year’s E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce. The lawsuit seeks a Court order requiring FDA to enact the FSMA laboratory accreditation requirements by a deadline with oversight to ensure completion.

“As the continued foodborne illness epidemic in our country shows, there is an urgent need for FDA to develop model standards for the increased number of accredited labs that the law calls for,” added Jaydee Hanson, Policy Director at Center for Food Safety.

Simply put, the more labs there are that can conduct accurate food testing, the safer our food supply will be.”

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