WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is opening offices in China, India, Europe and Latin America in a bid to improve product safety.
"The globalization of the food supply and medical product manufacturing has demanded that we do things differently," FDA Commissioner Andrew C. von Eschenbach said Thursday in a statement. "Through our Beyond our Borders initiative, we won't have to send our experts to another country to work with foreign governments and regulated industry to improve our oversight -- we'll have staff living there and working on the ground 365 days a year."
Health and Human Services Department Secretary Mike Leavitt said the first offices will be open by the end of the year.
"We're making steady progress to better safeguard our supply of food and medicines, though much work remains," said Leavitt. He said the FDA has upgraded labs and equipment, hired additional staff and begun implementing product safety agreements with key trading partners.
The first overseas office will open in Beijing this year, with additional staff to be posted in Shanghai and Guangzhou next year.