FDA to open Chinese offices in wake of contaminations

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Chinese government have approved a proposal which would allow the FDA to open offices in three Chinese cities by the end of 2008.

The agreement, made during recent talks in Annapolis, Md., is the latest by the federal government and China to help improve communication between the two countries and curb a recent rash of contaminated products imported from China that have killed animals and humans.

If the proposal is approved, the new agreement would create FDA inspections offices in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. It would also develop an electronic monitoring system to ensure that imports meet FDA feed and food safety standards, and improve the lines of communication between the two countries if contaminated products are released. Under the new guidelines, notification of tainted products such as pet food or medicine should accelerate , thus stopping the distribution of the product earlier.

Tainted products from China have been an ongoing problem in the United States in recent years. Deadly pet food, tainted with melamine came from the country as did contaminated batches of the blood thinner heparin, which the FDA has tentatively linked to 149 pet deaths in the U.S.