After meeting with a Cabinet-level working group assigned to review the country’s safety measures for imports, President Bush endorsed the Food and Drug Administration’s right to recall all food products.
“Specifically, the FDA would be empowered to order a recall when a company refuses to recall their product voluntarily or moves too slowly in removing the unsafe product from the market,” he said. “With this authority, the FDA will be in a better position to act quickly if any problem occurs.”
Both reports recommend granting the FDA new authority to recall food products in the event a voluntary recall is ineffective. The new mandate would, however, “provide for appropriate due process rights for any firm subject to a recall order,” according to the working group’s report.
"We need to do more to ensure that American families have confidence in what they find on our store shelves. They have the right to expect the food they eat, or the medicines they take, or the toys they buy for their children to be safe."
~ President Bush
Citing nearly $2 trillion worth of imported goods through more than 825,000 importers last year, President Bush said the recommendations will establish “new incentives for importers that follow strong safety practices and demonstrate a good track record,” increase penalties and develop higher standards for high-risk categories of goods.
In addition, the FDA food plan would require food facilities to renew their registration with the FDA every two years, require new food and animal feed export fees and allow third-party inspectors to review imports, among other items.
Congress would need to approve any additional legislation, but much of what was suggested, such as FDA recall power, was included in legislation passed this September under the 2007 Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act.