Dear Commissioner Eschenbach,
I am writing to express my concern regarding the security of our food imports, and the unwillingness of private food safety testing laboratories to supply Congress with records needed to continue our work of enhancing the safety of the American food supply. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is charged with protecting the public health, in part by joining in this effort to assure that safe food is available to American families. I look forward to continuing to work with you as you fulfill this important role.
Specifically, I am writing with great concern over the fact that the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Government Reform has had to resort to issuing subpoenas for nine private food safety testing laboratories. Ten labs were given ample opportunity to voluntarily submit the requested information. That nine of these labs have refused raises great concern in my mind that the FDA has been blocked from reviewing information that could be helpful to our efforts to protect the American people.
In light of this information, I am requesting that you move expediently to reexamine the FDA's policies for interacting with these private food safety labs. Further, I request that the FDA take swift action to implement a requirement that all private food safety labs must report data on attempted import shipments. I have crafted legislation that would accomplish this (HR 5827, the Keeping America's Food Safe Act). Your agency provided helpful guidance during that process, and it is my hope that you can direct those efforts now to implementing a revised policy that will close this loophole and grant the FDA a greater base of knowledge to evaluate our food imports.
Thank you for your consideration. If you have any questions or have helpful suggestions about how I may be of assistance in Congress, please contact me or my staff at 202-225-4561.
Very truly yours,
Peter J. Roskam
Member of Congress