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FDA Releases Plan to Boost Safety of Imported Food

FDA Releases Plan to Boost Safety of Imported Food

March 5, 2019 — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a plan to boost the safety of food that is imported to the United States from other countries.

In February, FDA published the “Strategy for the Safety of Imported Food” to outline their plan to improve the safety of imported food.

FDA Releases Plan to Boost Safety of Imported Food

The FDA is responsible for overseeing the safety of the imported food supply, which involved nearly 14 million shipments in 2018. Food shipments are expected to increase in 2019, with the U.S. importing about 15% of its overall food supply from around 200 other countries.

The food itself must be tested for contaminants like Salmonella, E. Coli, and Listeria monocytogenes. FDA must also inspect foreign food growers, processors, packers, and suppliers.

It is an enormous job — about 94% of seafood, 32% of vegetables, and 55% of fruit eaten in the U.S. is imported from other countries.

With the Food Safety Modernization Act, lawmakers are shifting food safety oversight at the FDA from a reactive to a proactive role.

That means the FDA will be able to mandate standards that are equal to standards in the U.S. on international food suppliers.

FDA has also outlined a plan to improve the food safety of imported food, such as:

  • Using foreign facility inspectors when possible
  • Mandating U.S. food safety standards on foreign suppliers
  • Allowing 3rd-party audits if they meet U.S. requirements
  • Sharing data with foreign regulatory agencies on food and facility oversight
  • Increasing compliance by providing training/outreach to foreign importers

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