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Security Policy Change at FDA

The US Food and Drug Administration appears to be adopting a new security policy that may prevent some foreign nationals from working for the agency, ScienceInsider reports.

The new security background check policy would bar the agency from hiring as staff or contractors foreign nationals who've lived in the US fewer than three out of the last five years, it adds. According to FDA, the change would affect about 50 people a year, mostly postdocs, ScienceInsider says.

FDA says these changes are in response to alterations in government-wide security policy, though ScienceInsider notes FDA appears to be interpreting that policy stringently. The background checks are part of issuing secure identification to government employees, but agencies previously hired personnel who couldn't undergo background checks at their discretion and gave them alternate IDs until they became eligible, it says. But, with the new policy, FDA says it cannot assume the risk of hiring ineligible personnel, though ScienceInsider notes that other agencies like the National Institutes of Health say they will.