Only a very small proportion of the food imported into the United States reaches consumers after having been inspected by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), potentially leaving consumers exposed to health risks from unchecked products, new research jointly conducted by FairWarning and Investigative News Network (INN) warns.
According to the report, the federal regulator has been unable to deal with the rising food product imports in the United States, because it has been forced to operate under a tight budget. As a result, not more than two percent of all imported food is actually physically inspected by FDA officials on an annual basis, before the shipments reach shelves and respectively, consumers, FairWarning writes on its website.
Figures collected by FairWarning and INN reveal that more than 15 percent of all food that American consumers buy originates abroad. When it comes to winter fruit and vegetables, the proportion of overseas food reaches half of the total, while almost the entire amount of seafood sold in U.S. stores and markets is caught in non-U.S. waters. However, statistics reveal that the FDA blocks approximately same number of shipments of foreign food as it did 10 years ago, but the difference is that imports then were about half the amount imported today, authors of the report said.
The FDA has declined to comment on the findings of the report, FairWarning noted.