Democrats want industry to pay for FDA inspections

Legislation to increase government inspections of food and drug manufacturing plants to keep tainted products off the market was introduced by Democrats on the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Commission, reports Reuters. Their solution is that food producers and drugmakers would be required to pay fees to the FDA to help boost the frequency of plant inspections, since the FDA's inspection staff is stretched thin with a growing number of global products to oversee.

Under the bill, food facilities, both domestic and foreign, would need to be inspected at least once every four years, while checks of overseas and domestic drug manufacturing plants would be required every two years unless the agency can justify fewer inspections. The legislation also would give the FDA added authority including the power to order mandatory recalls of tainted foods or unsafe medicines.

"Americans shouldn't have to worry about whether the food they serve their families and the medical products they use to improve their health might actually make them sick," said Representative John Dingell from Michigan.

It seems to me if the FDA inspection process is already stretched thin, adding additional inspections is not the answer. And having the industry pay for inspections could lead to higher food prices and corruption. There are always a few bad apples who do not maintain high standards in their plants and they need to be weeded out. Food companies might better invest their dollars by doing their own frequent unannounced inspections of their suppliers.