WASHINGTON — The Food and Drug Administration is suspending “routine” food facility inspections in an effort to ensure the safety of its workforce and not interfere with food manufacturer programs to limit the number of visitors to their facilities in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Other inspections deemed “mission critical” will continue.
“During this interim period, we’re evaluating additional ways to conduct our inspectional work that would not jeopardize public safety and protecting both the firms and the FDA staff,” said Stephen M. Hahn, MD, commissioner of food and drugs for the FDA. “This can include, among other things, evaluating records in lieu of conducting an onsite inspection on an interim basis when travel is not permissible, when appropriate.”
Dr. Hahn noted that during the past fiscal year the domestic violation rate among FDA-regulated companies was 5%.
“From our experience across the agency, we also believe FDA-regulated firms understand and appreciate their shared responsibility to ensure the integrity of the supply chain and we will continue to communicate with them during this time to underscore this partnership,” he said.