Recent news alerts from The U.S. Food and Drug Administration state that they have proposed new regulations to further ensure that food coming into the country meet the same safety standards as food produced in the United States.
Working in conjunction with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the FDA import proposals are deemed as a step forward to reach the goals of improving prevention and modernization practices for our country’s food safety system in the 21st century.
According to the FDA, imported food comes into the U.S. from roughly 150 different countries and accounts for about 15% of our nation’s total food supply. Therefore, not only do these new regulations affect the ongoing efforts of FDA inspectors, but they also act to strengthen the quality and transparency on the origins of foods entering the U.S.
Within the framework of the new regulations, the FDA recommends that importers be held more accountable for their product, by way of: verifying that their foreign suppliers are implementing modern, prevention-oriented food safety practices, and achieving the same level of food safety as domestic growers and processors; conducting activities to ensure that any identified hazards are swiftly and adequately controlled; and that a certification process may be implemented to determine whether or not to admit imported foods that could pose a safety risk.
Establishing ongoing partnerships within the global importing community and food industries are critical to the success of the FDA proposed regulations aiming to target foreign sources of contaminated foods before people are adversely affected by the products, or even worse, become ill because of them.
*photo of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agriculture specialist John Machado sifting through a bag of rice, credit: Eric Risberg, Associated Press.