FDA’s database of food production sites is lacking

A new HHS inspector general’s report sheds light on problems in the FDA’s Food Facility Registy (PDF), finding that almost half of the facilities in its analysis did not provide accurate information for the registry.

In addition, 7 percent of the facilities either failed to register or failed to cancel their registration with the FDA. The agency uses information from the registry to help track foodborne illnesses, so a lack of correct information could hamper the public health system’s ability to trace an outbreak and remove contaminated products from the food supply.

The registry, officially known as the FDA Unified Registration and Listing System, was instituted in the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 and requires food facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold food for consumption to provide reliable information about food facilities.

The report makes a number of recommendations, including “seeking statutory authority to require facilities to reregister on a routine basis.” For its part, the FDA “noted that the study confirms problems that the agency has encountered as well as the need for additional statutory authority.”

It might be interesting for reporters to see what local businesses should be listed in the database but are not or which of them have incorrect or outdated information in the registry. Here is some technical information about the software used for the database.

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