FDA outlines new data-driven approach to imported food safety

File photo: Flickr/honey-bee

Feb. 26 (UPI) — The Food and Drug Administration outlined new efforts to ensure the safety of food imported into the United States this week, including a data-driven focus on inspections at foreign food facilities.

The FDA said it’s getting better at detecting food safety issues and predicting which important foods are more likely to require testing. That said, the agency plans to introduce new approaches to testing and monitoring foodstuffs before they enter the U.S. food chain.

“Our modern strategy is designed to leverage our different authorities and tools to provide a multi-layered, data-driven, smarter approach to imported food safety,” a statement from FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb and deputy commissioner Frank Yiannas said.

The FDA said it seeks to be more communicative with the U.S. public about its actions regarding food safety. The agency announced four goals as part of that process: preventing food safety problems before they enter the U.S. supply chain, detecting and refusing unsafe foods at the borders, responding quickly to reports of unsafe imported foods and monitoring its food safety program.

The FDA said the United States imports about 15 percent of its food supply from more than 200 countries, receiving some 13.8 million food shipments in 2018. The United States is expected to import up to 15 million shipments in 2019.

The United States imports 55 percent of its fresh fruit, 32 percent of vegetables and 94 percent of seafood.


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