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However, there seems to be a misunderstanding as
We meant exactly what we said when we stated that
The justification for this position is only valid if
Mr. HORTON. I do have one other question, though, that has to do with the overall answer to this problem so it won't happen again.
What do you recommend? I am not critical of what you did. I wish you would have done it a little differently and I note you have said in your statement that you wouldn't change what you did. Now you did do it differently in the Italian situation than what you did before.
In other words, you did gain from experience.
Mr. HORTON. But what do you feel you have to do in order to have the authority or in order to provide the protection that we need to have with regard to contaminants in wine?
Mr. DRAKE. We probably need a better intelligence-gathering system for lack of a better term to know what is happening in different parts of the world, what is the possibility of something showing up that is occurring right now that we may not learn about for 4 or 5 months down the road. That material could already be here.
So we need a better intelligence-gathering and analysis system. We probably do need better testing protocols probably to let us do a random kind of testing process on products.
What do you next look for? Cyanide in wine? Why would they put cyanide in wine? Beats the heck out of me.
Mr. HORTON. Why put methanol in other things? Johnson & Johnson has been having a lot of trouble.
Mr. DRAKE. Why would people put methanol in wine, which makes no sense? So that is the thought process we have to go through to determine what kind of protocols can be developed, multipurpose protocols if possible to be sure there are other elements that we-the reference to the States allowing States to be involved in making sure.
We assume the State will tell us if they came across anything. We assume that. That is a reachable assumption, but we better be sure the State makes the same assumption that they would know, the University of California would know if they came across some hazardous chemical in a product that they would tell ATF or FDA immediately.
We have to make sure those assumptions are understood by both sides.
Mr. HORTON. Do you need more personnel to do this job?
Mr. DRAKE. You are asking a career civil servant if he needs more personnel.
Mr. HORTON. Well, can you do it with what you have got or is there a need for additional personnel? We are talking about the public health here. That is a very important responsibility.
Mr. DRAKE. We have public health concerns.
Mr. HORTON. I think the taxpayers are willing to pay a reasonable amount to make certain that their food products and wine are safe for consumption.
Mr. DRAKE. We have public health service concerns, Mr. Horton, also in the explosives area, for example. There are some 8,000 explosive dealers that have explosives stored and hopefully not near schoolyards and not near churches and not near residences. That is one of our responsibilities.
Mr. HORTON. I understand.
Mr. DRAKE. The FAA Act is a responsibility. The collection of $10 billion is a responsibility, 260,000 firearms licensees become a re sponsibility. To say are there available resources for all of these if we knew exactly where to concentrate those resources every time, the probability is that we would have enough, but we were notwhen DEG hit, when methanol hit, when the fireworks factories start to explode, unfortunately we are spread very, very thin and resources always can be used effectively with effective manage ment.
Mr. HORTON. One other thing. I understand that domestic or American wineries are required to keep chemical logs which show all the chemicals that they purchase and have in inventory, and then give an inventory detail as to when they are used.
Are foreign wine producers required to do this same sort of thing?
Mr. DRAKE. Not by the U.S. law.
Mr. HORTON. I know that. We don't require it, but do other countries put those same kinds of requirements on? You do require these logs, do you not?
Mr. DRAKE. Yes, we do-well, they have to keep records of any article or chemical or grapes, where the grapes came from, what variety they were. Those records must be available to allow verification of the process being done in the United States.
Mr. HORTON. And you check it? Mr. DRAKE. We do check them. Mr. HORTON. And you check them closely? Mr. DRAKE. We check them as closely as resources available will allow us.
Mr. HORTON. If there is some chemical missing, you will find out why it is missing?
Mr. DRAKE. Yes. Yes, sir. I am sure that many foreign countries, France, Germany, Italy, probably have strict regulations. I say probably. Enforcement may be a different element. I don't know about enforcement.
Mr. HORTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BARNARD. Mr. Drake, is there any overlapping then of responsibility between your agency, ATF, and the FDA?
Mr. DRAKE. Perhaps not overlapping as much as dovetailing. We won't allow anything to be used in an alcohol beverage that FDA has not certified generally recognized as safe for use in alcoholic beverages.
Mr. BARNARD. So, in other words, in this particular instance with FDA giving you—and I am sure Mr. Taylor will respond to this, too-giving the ATF responsibility in this particular case, even though your responsibilities are different, yours is in labeling, and theirs is in health protection. Yours is not in health protection?
Mr. DRAKE. Not primarily, no. Not legally, no.
Mr. BARNARD. Is there anything that can be done in the law to clear up this inconsistency?
Mr. DRAKE. Personally, I don't think so. I think the relationship between us and the FDA is and has been and will continue to be a very positive one to operate effectively when the problem arises. I think that DEG is an example where we did operate rather effectively when the problem arose.
The methanol is an issue where we operated even more effectively because we learned from the first time out. I think the two agencies, whether we need a memo of understanding or not, I am not sure. We have gone along well without the formalized memo of understanding. I understand that that would be beneficial for an outsider to look at and say, "Here is where you fix responsibility.”
In my estimation, we, the Government, we, ATF and FDA, are responsible, whether that may be delegated to us or not, we feel that responsibility.
Mr. BARNARD. This is what brings me to this question. BAFT has never conducted a recall of a wine, let alone a nationwide recall, according to the information in your appendix. Would it not have been useful to solicit the advice of the FDA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission to find out how to go about it? For example, the Consumer Product Safety Commission requires submissions of reports from various entities in the chain, which might have been useful here in placing more responsibility on wholesalers and importers to advise you of their actions. And the CPSC probably has more nationwide recalls than any other agency around. Wouldn't this have been a useful exercise to have coordinated your efforts with these two agencies?
Mr. DRAKE. Mr. Barnard, I am sure it would and if the time were there, we probably should have done that, but we had what I still believe was an immediate problem to deal with. We dealt with it immediately, and the primary concern was to protect the American consumer.
Mr. BARNARD. I want to join Mr. Horton in what he says about the agency. We are not here this afternoon to try to hold you responsible for anything beyond your control, but we do have a glaring gap here in the examining and handling of imported products. This is what concerns us more than anything else. I think we have got some lessons to learn for the future. Congress has some things to do.
Mr. DRAKE. So do we.
Mr. BARNARD. So I want to say I associate myself with his remarks and hopefully we can come up with some very positive suggestions about it.
Mr. Mrazek. Mr. MRAZEK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Drake, can you just state for the record whether you have all of the sophisticated testing equipment and laboratory personnel that you need to guarantee in terms of public safety, that all unauthorized ingredients can be found with the equipment and personnel that you presently have?
Mr. DRAKE. No, sir. I am sure that we would not. We have just recently found another piece of equipment that was necessary for testing called a Hall detector. We went out and bought it.
So to say we have all that could be necessary for a total comprehensive testing program to take care of anything that could come up, I am sure we would not have that equipment or personnel.
Mr. MRAZEK. Are there specific examples of equipment that you don't have now that you do require based on current technology to determine whether unauthorized ingredients are in products imported?