The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released a report describing its efforts to ensure the safety of imported food, drugs, medical devices, and other regulated products. Titled “Global Engagement,” the report asserts that FDA-regulated products originate from more than 150 countries, 130,000 importers and 300,000 foreign facilities.
According to FDA, food imports have grown each year from 2005 to 2011 by an average of 10 percent, with Americans consuming approximately half of their fresh fruits, 20 percent of fresh vegetables and 80 percent of seafood from imports. “As the volume of imported food increases, so too does the risk that some products will fail to meet FDA standards,” the report states. “The realities of the global marketplace add substantial challenges to FDA’s ability to protect U.S. consumers.”
Among its strategies to ensure imported product safety, FDA said it uses portable instruments to screen products, collaborates with coalitions of regulators around the world and “shares information and data globally to facilitate rapid identification of and response to public health emergencies.” See FDA Press Release, April 23, 2012.