Other Voices: FDA's imported food rule - The Packer

Other Voices: FDA's imported food rule

08/02/2013 10:32:00 AM
The Packer staff

FDA proposes new safety rules on imported food

CNN — by Matt Sloane, July 26

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday promised a safer U.S. food supply when it implements two new rules regulating food imported to the United States.

The first rule would put the burden on U.S. food importers to ensure their foreign suppliers are meeting U.S. food safety standards. The second would establish provisions for certifying third-party auditors in these countries.

“Many of the most vulnerable commodities are coming from countries with less-mature systems in terms of regulatory oversight and farming practices,” FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said. “This is an opportunity to help build regulatory capacity and improve safety standards.” ...

The current food safety system in the U.S. relies on FDA inspectors at ports of entry around the country physically inspecting food and detaining items that may pose a hazard to the American public. But inspectors can only physically examine 2% of the nation’s incoming food supply, according to the agency, leaving the other 98% unchecked.

FDA proposes rules to ensure food from abroad is safe to eat

The Associated Press — by Mary Clare Jalonick, July 26

WASHINGTON – Chances are that about 15% of the food you eat — more if your diet includes lots of fruits, vegetables and cheese — comes from abroad, and the government is taking steps to make it safer.

New rules proposed Friday by the Food and Drug Administration would make U.S. food importers responsible for ensuring that their foreign suppliers are handling and processing food safely. Imported fruit and cheese has been responsible for many recent outbreaks, including 153 recent Hepatitis A illnesses linked to a frozen berry mix sold at Costco last month as well as four deaths last year that were linked to listeria in Italian cheese. ...

The guidelines would require U.S. food importers to verify that the foreign companies they are importing from are achieving the same levels of food safety required in this country. The government estimates that the rules, which would also improve audits of food facilities abroad, could eventually cost the food industry up to $472 million annually.

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