ARCHIVE: 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.

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