FDA News Release: Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. and Deputy Commssioner Frank Yiannas on a new strategy to advance FDA's food safety mission and modernize oversight of imported food.

[Note from the Shelf Life Advice Editor: Do you ever wonder what percentage of the foods Americans buy are imported?  The first paragraph answers this question about the "overall food supply" and particular categories of food (vegetables, fruit, and seafood). The bulk of the article outlines FDA plans for improving the safety of imported edibles. The first four paragraphs are printed on Shelf Life Advice, followed by a link to the the entire FDA statement. You may find this text reassuring the next time you're enjoying a shrimp dinner.]


FDA News Release

For Immediate Release: February 25 2019

American consumers expect a diverse, robust and fresh food supply that’s affordable and safe all year round. Since not all food products can be produced solely by domestic facilities, to help meet these demands, the U.S. imports about 15 percent of its overall food supply from more than 200 countries or territories representing about 125,000 international food facilities and farms. Over the past 15 years alone, we’ve seen a trend of rising imported foods. Other countries now supply about 32 percent of the fresh vegetables, 55 percent of the fresh fruit and 94 percent of the seafood that Americans enjoy.

Even though we’ve seen an increase in imported foods, the safety of food products available to American consumers hasn’t waned thanks to the important roles that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the food industry and our regulatory counterparts around the world play in addressing the safety of imported human and animal foods. Whether produced domestically or abroad, a critical part of the FDA’s job is making sure all foods sold to American consumers meet U.S. food safety standards. This is especially important given the globalization of the food supply and steps the food industry has taken to meet consumer demands. The result is more complex supply chains and increased specialization, where a single manufacturer responsible for a single ingredient could find it in many different finished products.

We work hard every day to ensure that the U.S. food supply remains among the safest in the world. One of the greatest advancements in our ability to better safeguard our food supply, has been the implementation of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which gave the FDA additional authority over importers and food producers sending products to the U.S. market and provided support for a level playing field between domestic and international producers. Optimizing our FSMA implementation activities, as well as our longstanding tools and authorities, will provide for an even more comprehensive approach to help ensure imported food safety.

Today, we’re taking an important, new step to communicate how the FDA intends to use our modern toolkit by introducing a new, comprehensive, imported food safety strategy to address these challenges and opportunities. Our new strategy is designed to meet four important goals: preventing food safety problems in the foreign supply chain prior to entry into the U.S.; effectively detecting and refusing entry of unsafe foods at U.S. borders; responding quickly when the FDA learns of unsafe imported foods; and measuring our progress to ensure that our imported food safety program remains effective and efficient. Click here to read the entire FDA statement




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