Contact Us

Rethinking The Safety Of Imported Foods

(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

You see it on a grocery shelf.  Rest easy you think – all food that’s sold in the United States is safe due to the strict standards that the USDA and the food industry has implemented.  Think again.

A recent study shows that as the volume of imported food has risen in our country, the level of inspections for those imports has fallen off.

Nationwide, the FDA said that last year it rejected nearly 16,000 food-related shipments out of more than 10 million that arrived in more than 320 ports.

“If it comes in here and it’s bad,” said Denise Williams, a supervisor in the FDA’s Division of Import Operations in Southern California, “we’re gonna get ‘em.”

And “get ‘em” they do.  But, inspectors can’t get to all of it.  In fact, only 2% of all imported food gets scrutinized.

The FDA has about 1,800 investigators who oversee more than 44,000 U.S. food manufacturers and more than 100,000 additional registered food facilities, such as warehouses and grain elevators.

At the same time, the agency is responsible for nearly 200,000 foreign food facilities that have registered with the FDA in order to import the millions of food shipments that arrive in the U.S. each year.

With numbers like that, “Where would you want the people?” Nielsen said. “Would you want some people at the border? Well, there’s very few.”

FDA Public Affairs Officer Patricia El-Hinnawy said the number of investigators assigned to examine imported food shipments nationally is 277 full-time equivalents. That’s just five more than in 2009. These employees do field exams, sample collections and conduct security reviews, among other things, at ports of entry around the country.

Nielsen said the FDA’s food import operations are “still a bastard child” within the FDA. Until the agency sets up a separate, well-financed division devoted to food imports,

Flood of food imported, just 2 percent inspected – Health – Food safety – msnbc.com.

(NOTE:  The use of the image of Apollo Apples is only meant as an example of imported food.  Usage does not make any implication of the inspection levels of said product)

More from KOOL 101.7

Best of the Web

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your points and personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account with your Facebook account, just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing profile and VIP program points. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to http://kool1017.com using your Facebook account.

*Please note that your points, prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

Register on Kool 101.7 Radio quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!

Not a Member? Sign Up Here.

Sign up for an account to comment, share your thoughts, and earn points to get great prizes.

Register on Kool 101.7 Radio quickly by logging in with your Facebook account. It's just as secure, and no password to remember!