U.S., China near agreements on food, drug safety standards

WASHINGTON Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt announced Monday the United States and China will soon ratify a set of agreements aimed at ensuring that medicines, food, medical devices and other products made in China will meet the standards set by the Food and Drug Administration.

“Early next week, we hope to sign binding memorandums of understanding in the areas of food and feed and devices and drugs,” Leavitt said in a speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce,” according to the China View news agency.

The announcement follows a string of high-profile recalls of Chinese products deemed unsafe for consumption or use, and a wholesale reassessment of that vast nation’s safety standards by American officials and consumers. In the wake of those revelations, China’s leaders have launched a massive campaign to rid the nation’s manufacturing and safety oversight procedures of corruption and ineffective leadership, even going so far as to execute the official in charge of food and drug safety earlier this year.

During a visit to China in October, Leavitt defended China’s efforts to boost drug safety procedures. “Their systems are relatively new compared to ours. And yet at the same time they have made an enormous amount of progress as it relates to their development of infrastructure,” Leavitt asserted. “And they are as concerned about confidence in the quality and safety of food and drugs as we are in the United States.”

Subsequent to that visit, a number of Chinese officials in charge of food and drug safety in that country met in Washington with FDA representatives.

Noting what he called “the radical changes that were occurring in the world around us,” Leavitt added, “we needed to … rethink our strategy for continuing to ensure the quality and safety of the drugs and medical devices and the food that we were importing.”

Login or Register to post a comment.