Nearly 20 percent of all food eaten in the United States comes from other countries, and the number of outbreaks linked to those foods are continuing to rise, a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration reports.
The study reinforces the need for Congress to approve essential funding for implementation of the import provision of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, Pew reports. Since starting in 2011, FSMA required companies take steps to prevent contamination of their products and help improve public health.
The Foreign Supplier Verification Programs rule was enforced on May 30 and will protect Americans' health by requiring imported foods meet the same safety criteria as those grown in the U.S. The standards will enforce safety requirements for fruits and vegetables for the first time. According to Pew, the enforcement is a key component seeing as 84 percent of illnesses examined by the CDC and FDA were from fruits and vegetables.
Funding decisions from Congress later this year will determine if the safety system is a success or not. Since FSMA began, Congress has worked to meet the challenge of funding the import program by expanding FDA's capacity to modernize food safety oversight, Pew reports. As lawmakers prepare spending bills, FSMA funding needs to be continued to be seen as a priority.
During this summer when recalls have been a prominent news story, it is crucial that food needs to be safe, regardless of where it comes from.