Associated Press writer, Andrew Bridges, reported on April 16, 2007 that only 1.3% of imported fish, vegetables, fruit and other foods are inspected. Food experts say that the United States doesn’t have the resources to ensure that the food which has been imported is safe. Experts go on to say that the nation is vulnerable to harmful foods from abroad where rules and regulations governing food production are often more relaxed than they are at home.
Director of the University of Georgia’s Center for Food Safety, Mike Doyle, says that “the FDA doesn’t have enough resources or control over this situation presently”. In March 2007 alone, the FDA detained nearly 850 shipments of grains, fish, vegetables, nuts, spices, oils and other imported foods for reasons ranging from filth to unsafe food coloring to salmonella to contamination by pesticides. This is with only 1.3% of imported shipments being inspected. The other 98.7% which is not inspected enters our country for consumption.
The average American eats about 260 pounds of imported food each year, which places many innocent people across the country at risk for serious foodborne illnesses.
An FDA official stated that the globalization of the food supply means the agency is going to have to be more creative and strategic in ensuring its safety. “I’m not quite sure how we are going to do that yet” he said, “except to know that is the direction we are going to be heading..