Almost half of food facilities fail to provide accurate information to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and five percent of all firms producing food fail to register with the agency at all, according to a recent government report.
The report, conducted by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), found several major gaps in the FDA’s food facility registry, a system meant to help the agency keep track of companies producing food both domestically and abroad.
The OIG found that in addition to missing and incorrect information, the registry is also plagued by being woefully out of date.
According to the report, for the five percent of facilities that failed to register with the FDA, the agency was missing information necessary to locate a facility in the event of an emergency.
Additionally, two percent of facilities failed to cancel their registration with the system after ceasing production, “As a result the registry contained information about inactive food facilities, which could hinder FDA’s ability to accurately identify food facilities that may be linked to an outbreak of foodborne illness,” stated the OIG report.
Out of the 130 sampled, almost half–62, or 48 percent–of facilities were found to provide inaccurate information to the FDA. Thirty did not provide accurate contact information, 26 did not provide an accurate emergency contact phone number, 20 facilities did not provide contact information for the owner, 14 had incomplete contact information for their parent company, and 7 were registered in the system multiple times, according to the report.
The incomplete and inaccurate information in the registry makes sense considering the OIG report’s final finding–that fifty-two percent of managers reported they were unaware of the FDA’s registry requirements.