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|FDA, Multilaterals Team Up for Product Safety|
October 4, 2011
From the time you take your morning vitamin until you brush your teeth at night, U.S. consumers use many products imported from other countries.
The Food and Drug Administration says 40 percent of fresh produce and 80 percent of the active ingredients in medications come into the United States from outside our borders. And that doesn’t count animal feed, medical devices, cosmetics, and other FDA-regulated products that flood the U.S. from abroad.
Sometimes these products may contain only one ingredient or component part from another country, while other times the entire product may come from one or many countries.
Because the neighborhood grocery and corner drug store are now global marketplaces, FDA ensures the safety and effectiveness of products sold domestically by working through multilateral organizations to improve cooperation and collaboration with other countries, says Mary Lou Valdez, FDA’s associate commissioner for international programs.
Multilateral organizations are groups of more than two countries banded together to work on specific issues. Participation in these groups offers FDA opportunities to expand reach and increase knowledge.
“We work with the World Health Organization and other groups to effect changes in the policies and procedures of manufacturers and farmers in developing nations, so they can produce the safest and most effective products for themselves and the U.S. market,” Valdez says.
FDA is working with three multilateral organizations on projects that aim to improve food safety, as well as the safety of medical products for people and animals. FDA’s partners are:
Through its work with multilateral organizations and FDA’s own international offices, the agency is supporting efforts to strengthen regulatory agencies in developing nations and create internationally accepted standards of safety, efficacy, and quality.
FDA also has strong, individual relationships and confidentiality agreements with regulatory counterparts in 29 countries. This enables the agency to share scientific knowledge and expertise and promote responsible international activities that promote product safety.
“The presence of a strong regulatory network ultimately benefits developing nations because it ensures that their manufacturers adhere to standards that promote public health at home and in the countries that import their goods,” Valdez says.
This article appears on FDA's Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.
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