The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to close 7 of 13 field labs that test food and drugs for compliance with FDA safety standards. FDA employees were notified yesterday (February 27) of the closures, which are part of an effort to restructure the agency's Office of Regulatory Affairs. As predicted by FDA insiders, labs located in Denver, Detroit, Kansas City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, San Juan (Puerto Rico), and Winchester (Massachusetts) will close. Facilities in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Jefferson (Arkansas), Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle will remain open. According to the FDA, all of the closing labs are older facilities that need costly renovations, or can't accommodate an expansion. In a letter to Senator Edward Kennedy, chairman of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, FDA head Andrew von Eschenbach wrote that bringing scientists together in more centralized locations will let them "work more closely together...

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