March 16, 2015
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to share data on pesticides and toxic substances. This will allow the agencies to share information that will better inform their assessments of risks to the public and the environment.
The FDA and EPA have complementary roles in their regulatory authority for some substances incorporated into food (including animal food and feed), animal drugs, and cosmetics. The FDA is responsible for protecting and promoting the public health by ensuring, among other things, the safety of food (including animal food and feed), animal drugs, and cosmetics by enforcing the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and several related public health laws. EPA is responsible for managing the pesticides and toxic substances programs under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, the FD&C Act, and the Toxic Substances Control Act.
The memorandum of understanding establishes a process of disclosure and sharing of their respective databases that will facilitate the decisions of each agency related to food safety, veterinary medicine, and cosmetics. This data sharing will provide the most up-to-date information and assist in coordinating reviews between agencies. Sometimes a given substance may be regulated by both agencies. For example, a manufacturer of an antimicrobial food wash is required to demonstrate to the FDA that its use is safe and does not adulterate food. The manufacturer may also be required to demonstrate to EPA that use of the same substance (labeled as a pesticide) will not hurt the environment.
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