GAO Report Says Better FDA Communication May Help Combat Economic Adulteration

November 29, 2011

Currently, the report says, FDA targets adulteration on a broad and overall scale and does not necessarily distinguish between factors that may inspire adulteration.

In a new report, the U.S. Government Accountability Office says that better communication from FDA may help in the fight against economically motivated adulteration.

Specifically, the report says FDA should:

  • Adopt a working definition of economic adulteration

  • Provide written guidance to agency centers and offices on the means of addressing economic adulteration

  • Enhance communication and coordination of agency efforts on economic adulteration

Currently, the report says, FDA targets adulteration on a broad and overall scale and does not necessarily distinguish between factors that may inspire adulteration. However, the report says that focusing in on economic motivations specifically could help the agency better identify risk factors.

Moreover, the report encourages FDA to better communicate about economic adulteration throughout its offices. The agency has recently formed an FDA Working Group on Economically Motivated Adulteration to encourage communication and collaboration.

Looking forward, the report predicts challenges in fighting economic adulteration to increase as supply chains become increasingly globalized and products are increasingly imported.

In response to the report, Natural Products Association executive director and CEO John Gay stated: ‘The GAO report reminds us that the issue of economically motivated adulteration, or EMA, has been with us for as long as there has been commerce, and that it persists to a greater or lesser degree in a number of segments, including dietary supplements and other foods. NPA supports government and industry efforts to combat this illegal practice.”