WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Most Imported Food Not Inspected

Dec 9, 2013

Food and Drug Administration regulators inspected less than two-percent of the food shipments that were imported to the U.S. in the 2012 fiscal year.

The finding is from a new report on the FDA’s food safety measures.

The report said more than 98% of imported food shipments, from coffee to seafood to fruit, were not physically inspected by federal authorities.

I don't think consumers have to be necessarily extremely concerned but it's something that they can think about...
Produce at a supermarket
Credit Karimian/Flickr

FDA inspectors are responsible for all domestic and imported food except meat, poultry and eggs. Those fall under US Department of Agriculture purview.

“I don’t think consumers have to be necessarily extremely concerned but it’s something that they can think about and make choices accordingly,” said Londa Nwadike,  Food Safety Educator for the University of Missouri and Kansas State University.

She pointed out many retailers have their own food safety inspection plans in place.

Nwadike also said the FDA tries to make sure it’s inspecting the highest risk products so it can find the things that would most likely cause food borne illness.

Higher risk products on FDA’s radar include cheese, produce and fish.

The FDA said all imports are being electronically screened. That helps inspectors determine the shipments that pose the greatest risk and therefore should be physically examined.