Tuesday, December 2, 2008

FDA to Deploy System to Screen Imported Foods

(NextGov.com – Bob Brewin)

The Food and Drug Administration has completed testing a system that relies on data mining technology to screen imported foods for contamination, and plans to deploy it for agencywide use, according to an annual report FDA released on Monday.

In its Food Protection Plan report, FDA said it successfully tested the Predictive Risk-based Evaluation for Dynamic Import Compliance Targeting system at five seaports in the Los Angeles area and has established a steering committee to deploy the system agencywide.

The value of U.S. food imports total about $70 billion a year, but FDA inspected only 1% of imported food from 2002 through 2007, according to a Government Accountability Office report released in September. An outbreak of Salmonella Saint Paul this summer caused grocery stores nationwide to remove tomatoes from shelves before FDA identified jalapeno and serrano peppers grown in Mexico as the source of the illness.

Full story here. The Food Protection Plan is on the FDA website at FDA website, and the One-Year Summary of Progress under the Food Protection Plan is at here.