FDA needs more recall power: panel
Advisory panel ready to tell President Bush that the federal agency should take control of ordering mandatory product recalls, Leavitt says.
By CNN's Adam Levine
November 6 2007: 10:08 AM EST
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- An advisory panel will suggest to President Bush that the Food and Drug Administration be allowed to mandate recalls, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, who heads the panel.
Currently, the FDA must work with companies to encourage voluntary recalls.
The recall recommendation is among 50 that the panel, the President's Import Safety Working Group, will make to the president when he meets with them at the White House on Tuesday.
The panel will also recommend that the agency be given the ability to certify goods as safe before they are imported to the United States, Leavitt said. It will also suggest increasing the amount of inspectors in countries that export a lot of goods to the United States, according to HHS spokeswoman Holly Babin.
"What we can do is make certain that products that come into the United States are certified as safe and that people are using best practices," Leavitt said in an interview on CNN's American Morning.
Among the other suggestions will be a certification to show that goods comply with FDA standards and also a certification program for manufacturers with proven track records, which would quicken the time it takes to import goods, Babin said.
The recommendations would necessitate an increase in budget for the agencies involved, including the FDA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission, in order to allow for greater oversight, Leavitt said.
"Our report is quite specific that this will require more resources and calls on us to use the regular budget process not just in one year but ongoing years to make sure it's adequately funded," Leavitt said on American Morning. "That's a very important part of our report."
After meeting with the working group, President Bush is expected to make a statement about the recommendations.