With nearly 3,000 deaths per year in the U.S. due to foodborne illness, the FDA is reevaluating their food safety system when it comes to foreign imports.
CNN reports that regulations on international imports are particularly in need of restructuring.
The FDA has proposed a system in which overseas importers are required to keep a closer observation on their individual suppliers. The FDA would in turn monitor those importers. The new rules also include a program to incentivize foreign import companies to comply with U.S. safety standards by guaranteeing them a certain grace of passage to U.S. markets.
A total of 15 percent of the U.S. food supply comes from overseas, including 20 percent of vegetables consumed and 50 percent of fruits. The volume of import makes it all the more crucial that a new safety plan be drafted.
The present method involves FDA officials posted at ports of entry around the country with the intention of physically examining the incoming food supply to halt the import of any potentially dangerous goods. This current system, however, appears to be broken, as FDA officials can only personally inspect 2 percent of total import, leaving the health of the American populace up to chance.