The U.S. government needs to encourage research into frugal technologies that would be useful in poor countries. The USDA and FDA should pursue Cooperative Research and Development Agreements with private companies to work together in research and development; the first of these could be issued in the next 2 years. They can also collaborate directly with researchers in developing countries. The technologies developed in these collaborations would also benefit small- and medium-sized producers in the United States into the future.
Recommendation 6-7: The FDA should ensure an adequate mix of incentives to importers of food and medical products that are confirmed to meet U.S. regulatory standards. One such promising initiative is the 2-year FDA Secure Supply Chain pilot program. The FDA should evaluate this program immediately after its pilot phase (scheduled to end in 2014). The program should be expanded, if successful, to include a greater number of importers and food.
The FDA does not have the authority to regulate all the upstream activities in complex international supply chains of food and medical products. The Secure Supply Chain pilot program rewards firms that trace their products thoroughly from manufacture to entry into the United States. The results from this pilot program should be evaluated when the pilot phase is over in 2014 with the goal of expanding the project to include more importers and more products in the next 3 to 5 years.
Recommendation 6-8: Over the next 10 years, U.S. government agencies should work to strengthen the ability of those harmed by unsafe food and medical products to hold foreign producers and importers liable in civil lawsuits.
Importers carry a great deal of product liability risk when they bring products into the American market. The U.S. government should give clear guidance to producers in low- and middle-income countries on the rights of consumers and the importance of product liability laws to trade and to health. In the next decade, U.S. government agencies including, but not limited to, the U.S. Trade Representative, the Department of Treasury, and the Department of Justice should work to increase liability for unsafe food and medical products.
Over the past 30 years, international trade, outsourcing, and improvements in telecommunication have created a more unified world economic