updated 1/12/2010 11:25:25 AM ET 2010-01-12T16:25:25

The Food and Drug Administration is launching a new Web site explaining its operations to consumers as part of a broader effort to rebrand itself as a more accessible agency.

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The Web site, dubbed ‘FDA Basics,’ features short videos about the agency as well as conversations with FDA leaders.

The FDA has long operated under strict confidentiality rules because its scientists handle reams of proprietary information from food, drug and device companies.

However, the FDA's operating style has come under fire in recent years from critics who have charged that the agency is too slow to disclose drug safety issues.

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg says the agency must be more accessible to the public.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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