WASHINGTON, D.C. — Consumer protection agencies such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) continue to perform their primary function to promote and ensure the safety and reliability of foods, medicines, and consumer products despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Most government agencies deemed to be nonessential have shuttered during the pandemic. However, the FDA and CPSC have not allowed the COVID-19 pandemic to thwart their mission. Both agencies continue to announce medical, and product recalls. According to an article appearing on KPCNews.com, the CPSC has increased product recall initiatives compared to January of 2019 and shows no signs of slowing down.
Regulatory agencies face similar challenges to other businesses who are struggling to carry on during these unprecedented times. The “new reality” into which we have been thrown has forced companies and the agencies that oversee them to adapt. Employees working from remote sites closed manufacturing facilities, and disruptions in supply chains, along with skeleton shifts running the processes, experts anticipate the quality and perhaps the safety of consumer goods and medication to drop.
Part of the equation involves the availability of regulators to conduct on-site inspections. Experts say that regulators will be able to catch slipping quality and safety standards once their travel restrictions have been lifted.
Experts also anticipate that companies that altered production of their main products, such as automakers, which have turned to produce medical equipment without the rigors of the FDA’s standard testing and approval, could suffer when the pandemic finally lifts. Producing items rapidly, while necessary to meet the demands of patients suffering from COVID-19, can impact the quality and safety of the items.
The FDA faces new food safety challenges. The agency has observed more significant concern among consumers regarding the safety of the food sold during the pandemic. Likewise, the CPSC has received an increase in the number of consumer complaints concerning the safety of children’s products because children are out of school.
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