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TO IMPROVE the safety of imported food, the US government is reaching out to the farm. Plans are being developed to inspect the production sites of fruits and vegetables that come to the United States from abroad as thoroughly as such suppliers are examined in this country.
The effort is to ensure food safety at the production level, not just at the import point. If the administration's plans are realized, produce from a country with an inferior food safety system will be banned. This is a fundamental change from current efforts, in which suspect foods are seized at the port of entry.
The move comes in the wake of repeated occurrences of foodborne illness from imports and at a time when importation of foods into the United States has been growing rapidly. One estimate is that it has doubled in the past decade. The list of outbreaks of disorders caused
Marwick C. 'Fresh Produce Initiative' for Imports Proposed. JAMA. 1997;278(18):1481. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550180029013
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