Virtually all of the food imported into the United States reaches consumers without being inspected by the federal government, putting the nation at risk of exposure to food-borne illnesses.
An investigation by FairWarning and Investigative News Network (INN) found that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspectors allow nearly all food imports to enter the country without undergoing visual examination.
“The FDA has been outgunned and overmatched for years as a rising tide of imported food has found a place at the U.S. dinner table,” FairWarning’s Rick Schmitt wrote. “Because of budget constraints ordinarily only 1 percent to 2 percent of food imports are physically inspected by the agency at the border each year.”
The incredibly low inspection rate is particularly alarming considering that food imports have been steady growing in the U.S.
Consider these numbers collected by FairWarning and INN:
- Fifteen percent of the American diet now originates overseas
- About 50% of all winter fruits and vegetables bought in the United States are grown in other countries
- Nearly all seafood eaten by Americans is caught in non-U.S. waters.
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