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U.S. Public Lacks Confidence in FDA: Poll
Date:4/30/2009

public opinion and people cut back on buying spinach and so on," Taylor said. "Those kinds of stories on food safety and drug safety really do have a big impact."

FDA spokeswoman Stephanie Kwisnek said her agency had not yet read the poll results and could not offer specific comments. But she said the FDA is working with the Obama administration on "new legislative approaches and also is embarking on an aggressive and proactive approach" to improve oversight of the U.S. food supply.

According to Kwisnek, this new strategy includes "working closer with companies on recalls before any illnesses are associated with potentially harmful products," using the Internet and other "social media mechanisms" to keep the public better informed, establishing "presences overseas to ensure the safety of products coming into the United States," and hiring more scientists and inspectors.

The new online survey, conducted in mid-April, queried a nationally representative sample of 2,495 adults aged 18 and over.

Another big worry for respondents: domestically made prescription drugs. Only 8 percent of poll respondents feel the agency is doing an "excellent" job of making sure new prescription drugs are safe and effective, or monitoring the safety of prescription drugs after they arrive on the market.

Similarly, only 11 percent believe the FDA does an "excellent" job of handling recalls of prescription drugs. Overall, 43 percent think the agency's handling of recalls is "good," 28 percent "fair," and 12 percent "poor."

"This shows there's still a lot of concern out there about how the FDA does its job," said Tony Corbo, senior lobbyist at Food & Water Watch, a non-profit organization in Washington, D.C.

Another consumer advocate agreed. "The public is reflecting a legitimate concern about the capacity of the FDA, with its current resources and current legal authorities, to do what needs to be done to protect th
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