Due to the recent decline in COVID-19 cases across the U.S., the FDA has resumed conducting domestic surveillance inspections of all commodities. State inspectors under FDA contract have the discretion to make inspection decisions based on their local information.
In addition to resuming the planning and conducting of domestic surveillance inspections, the FDA is continuing its remote foreign supplier verification program activities for human and animal foods, as well as conducting both foreign and domestic mission-critical inspections and providing effective oversight of foods, drugs, medical products, and tobacco.
The FDA also is proceeding with previously planned foreign surveillance inspections in areas that have received country clearance and are within the CDC’s Level 1 or Level 2 COVID-19 travel recommendation. The planning for additional foreign surveillance inspections is ongoing, with an anticipated goal of conducting foreign prioritized inspections starting in April.
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At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the FDA postponed all routine domestic and foreign surveillance facility inspections, conducting only mission-critical inspections to keep plant workers and the agency’s employees safe. On Dec. 29, 2021, the FDA announced it was making temporary changes to its inspection activities to ensure the safety of its employees and individuals at firms it regulates as the agency adapted to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and the spread of the omicron variant.
Throughout these activities, the agency has remained committed to the health and safety of its investigators and providing the protection needed to safely inspect facilities and conduct investigations at ports and in agency laboratories.