F.D.A. opens food safety post in Mexico City
December 15, 2009
by Eric Schroeder
WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration has opened an office in Mexico City, the agency’s third post in Latin America and its tenth international office in the past 13 months. The openings are part of the F.D.A.’s effort to improve food and medical product safety in the United States by working with regulatory partners overseas.
“The opening of this office represents an important step as we re-design our product safety strategy,” said Margaret A. Hamburg, commissioner of the F.D.A. “We, like our partners in the Mexican government, realize that prevention is the key. For example, more than a third of the fresh fruits and vegetables we eat come from Mexico as do a large amount of our medical devices. Having F.D.A. experts located permanently there will be mutually beneficial to both our countries and respective citizens.”
According to the F.D.A., employees at the Mexico City office will work with their counterparts in the Mexican government to harmonize regulations and guidance standards and to work on other collaborative initiatives. These collaborations will include, for example, information-sharing on the respective regulatory systems and joint workshops on the safety of food products. Agencies in both governments also will make efforts to find opportunities for joint training on foodborne illnesses and the oversight of food traded internationally, the F.D.A. noted.
F.D.A. staff also will offer collaboration on the use of the latest laboratory techniques, foster other collaborative initiatives to ensure the safety of food products marketed in the two countries, and be a “portal” to the F.D.A. for counterpart Mexican agencies and the U.S.-export industry in Mexico.