Here's an interesting idea from the GAO. They are advocating for the creation of an information clearinghouse to combat intentional product adulteration -- based on FDA comments that getting information from industry about potential instances of economic adulteration is crucial to addressing the problem. Up to now, companies have been reluctant to share this information.
The clearinghouse would allow companies to share information anonymously on adulterated ingredients with FDA and other companies. It could help FDA disseminate information about adulterated products quickly and enable the agency and industry to respond to adulteration rapidly. The creation of a clearinghouse managed by a third party could further ensure that the information did not identify specific companies.
This strategy could help allay industry’s concerns about sharing information when an adulterated ingredient has not entered into commerce. Companies are afraid that they may be sued if they reported that a supplier intentionally adulterated a product and the accusation is later found to be baseless.
Because potential adulterants often are unknown or unidentified, it can be hard for FDA to detect them, as was the case in the recent heparin adulteration. Industry may be the best source of tests to detect adulteration because companies develop such tests to monitor the products they receive from their suppliers; however, industry officials indicated that they are often reluctant to share such information because it is proprietary. The clearinghouse might solve the fears surrounding sharing proprietary information -- which in turn could help the FDA do its job better and better protect the consumer.
It seems like an idea worth exploring.
Postd by Bruce Lehr Nov 29th 2011.