Trade Data Center

One-stop shop for searchable trade databases, case lists & more

Eyes on Trade

Global Trade Watch blog on trade & globalization. Subscribe to RSS.

Debunking Trade Myths

To hide the facts about failed trade policies, proponents are changing the data

Connect with GTW

Related Documents

Action Alerts
Fact Sheets
Press Releases

Food and Product Safety

The rapid growth in imported food combined with current trade pact rules prioritizing expansion of food trade volumes by limiting countries' food safety policies means that U.S. consumers are increasingly being forced to rely on foreign governments to regulate the safety of foods sold and consumed here. Unfortunately, recent experience has highlighted that many foreign regulatory systems are simply not up to the task. Thus, relying on foreign governments and their food safety systems to protect Americans' health is a recipe for disaster.

Americans expect the food they eat meets U.S. safety standards. One particularly dangerous trade agreement limitation on food safety involves obligations related to "equivalence" — the requirement that countries may no longer require imported food to actually meet their domestic standards. Under current U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) equivalence policy some imported meat and poultry fails to meet U.S. standards. USDA has found equivalence and sought to force U.S. consumers to rely on the food safety systems of countries known for widespread and deadly safety failures. Changes are needed to the relevant U.S. laws and regulations implementing trade pact food safety-related policies, notably including meat and poultry equivalence policy.

How Proposed New
Trade Agreements Could
Undermine Safety Standards

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Food Safety

The Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA) and Food Safety

As President Obama begins developing new food safety plans, proposed trade pacts pending before Congress would replicate and lock in limits on the U.S. government's ability to ensure imported food safety. Included in pending "Free Trade Agreements" (FTAs) with Panama, Colombia and South Korea are limits on what safety standards the United States can require for imported foods and how much inspection is permitted. U.S. laws that extend beyond the FTAs' limits that have the effect of limiting access of imported food to the U.S. market are subject to challenge as "illegal trade barriers" before foreign trade tribunals.

Reports and Memos  |  Press Room  |  Congress Speaks Out  |  Other Resources

Public Citizen Factsheets, Memos & Reports

Public Citizen Press Releases & Statements

Members of Congress & Civil Society Organizations Speak Out

Copyright © 2016 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.

Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation


You can support the fight for greater government and corporate accountability through a donation to either Public Citizen, Inc., or Public Citizen Foundation, Inc.

Public Citizen lobbies Congress and federal agencies to advance Public Citizen’s mission of advancing government and corporate accountability. When you make a contribution to Public Citizen, you become a member of Public Citizen, showing your support and entitling you to benefits such as Public Citizen News. Contributions to Public Citizen are not tax-deductible.

Public Citizen Foundation focuses on research, public education, and litigation in support of our mission. By law, the Foundation can engage in only very limited lobbying. Contributions to Public Citizen Foundation are tax-deductible.