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FDA Proposes Rules Aimed at Ensuring Safety of Imported Food

Statement of CSPI Food Safety Director Caroline Smith DeWaal

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Eighty percent of our seafood, 60 percent of our produce, almost all of our spices, and even some pet food ingredients come from other countries. In fact, our stores are filled to the brim in large part because of foods and ingredients coming from different parts of the world. Today's long-delayed announcement that the Food and Drug Administration is moving forward on regulations to increase the safety of imported foods is good news and, if finalized, will lead to safer foods.

The proposed foreign supplier verification rule, and another proposed rule recognizing audits and certification of foreign food facilities, rely on private industry to take steps to check their products. Supplier verification means that companies should know who they are buying from—not just their name and address, but their food safety practices. This system is backed up with third-party checks. When these rules are eventually implemented, they will, at long last, give the FDA strong tools to improve the safety of imported foods.

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Contact Jeff Cronin (jcronin[at]cspinet.org) or Ariana Stone (astone[at]cspinet.org).