FDA Struggles To Improve Performance

WASHINGTON — Some critics say the Food and Drug Administration is a broken agency, while others see some tentative improvements. But even defenders acknowledge the FDA is struggling.

Recent examples of problems have included tainted peanuts, unsterilized syringes, salmonella in Mexican chili peppers and a contaminated blood thinner from China that sent patients into life-threatening shock.

A Democratic critic, Congressman John Dingell of Michigan, says the FDA is “running around like a lot of headless chickens.”

Acting FDA commissioner Dr. Frank Torti says a difficult job is made even harder because the agency lacks rescources and certain legal authority.

Republican Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire says he supports a proposed bill to give the FDA more power to protect the public against food contamination.