FDA Inspects Only 2% of Imported Food

Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Food imports into the United States are far outpacing the ability of the federal government to inspect shipments, leaving the nation vulnerable to outbreaks of food-borne illness.
A decade ago, the U.S. imported six million shipments of food a year. Today, that total has ballooned to 24 million shipments—a fourfold increase. Meanwhile, the agency charged with checking for harmful bacteria, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), inspects only about 2% of all imported edible goods.
The rate is even lower for seafood, which can be particularly risky to eat. About 80% of all fish and marine life consumed by Americans comes from overseas, including countries like China and Thailand that lack the same level of food regulations. The FDA, meanwhile, checks only 1% of imported seafood.
In 2010, the FDA rejected about 16,000 food-related shipments—out of more than 10 million that arrived at U.S. ports.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 48 million Americans get sick each year from food poisoning. Of this amount, 128,000 are hospitalized and 3,000 die.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
Federal Agencies Falling Short in Protecting U.S. Food Supply (by Max Levy and Mattea Kramer, iWatch News)
80% of Drugs Approved in U.S. Are Tested Abroad (by David Wallechinsky, AllGov)


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