Using Comprehensive Import Data—A Healthy Education

Did you know that the vitamin pill you just washed down this morning is likely to have been produced outside of the U.S.?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sliced and diced a variety of data to analyze the growth of the importation of foods, medications, medical devices and household products regulated by the agency. In a special report titled “Pathway to Global Product Safety and Quality,” the FDA acknowledges the problems it’s had in the past with tracking imports in an ever-changing world.

Following an urgent call from FDA commissioner, Margaret A. Hamburg, the administration created the report to outline better ways to monitor imported food and drugs, and is seen as an important strategic turning point toward ensuring safety, according to the New York Times.

According to this report:

  • 10-15% of all foods consumed by U.S. households are imported.
  • Nearly two thirds of our fruits and vegetables, and 80% of all seafood come from outside the U.S.
  • 50% of all medical devices used in the U.S. are imported.
  • 80% of all pharmaceutical ingredients used in medications are produced outside the U.S.
  • Imported FDA regulated products come from 150 different countries, and this year, will arrive in 24 million shipments.

To address their challenges, the FDA has outlined a plan that called for the development of a global data information system allowing regulators to share information and resources in real time. The FDA also seeks an expansion of intelligence gathering and use, including analytics.

Sound familiar? PIERS solutions provide major organizations the same kind of support needed to accurately structure and track vital information—the kind that could mean the difference between ensuring food and drug safety, or risk having harmful materials cross U.S. borders.

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