NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Rules Won't Do Much Good

August 28, 2012

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is imposing new rules to implement last year's food safety law. Three thousand people die each year of food-borne illnesses, but it is unlikely that these new rules will do anything to change that, say Gregory Conko and Ryan Young, fellows at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

  • $1 billion will be spent to double the number of inspections on farms and food processing facilities.
  • However, this only accomplishes an inspection once every five years instead of 10 years.
  • Furthermore, "high risk" facilities would be inspected just once every three years.
  • Additionally, it is near impossible for inspections to see microbes or bacteria that would be harmful to consumers.

These rules came on the heel of 2010's egg recall. But the rules are outdated and don't accomplish anything other than costing the government billions of dollars. For instance, the new rules allow for vegetable growers and food processors to adopt risk-prevention techniques they can tailor themselves, but most major food companies had already adopted this years ago.

The only support these rules have come from giant food corporations. This is because the new rules make it difficult for small companies to adopt the safety methods or new technologies. The FDA targets the big companies, which is why they impose the same, rigid and costly rules for everyone. This puts small companies at a disadvantage, as the necessary paperwork is designed for major multinational businesses.

Source: Gregory Conko and Ryan Young, "Opposing View: FDA Rules Won't Do Much Good," USA Today, August 22, 2012.


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