Just a few weeks ago, FDA investigators ordered an administrative detention of a Maine company's cold-smoked salmon product, a ready-to-eat food, during an inspection. Once the food was detained, Mill Stream Corp. agreed to voluntarily destroy the cold-smoked salmon, under FDA supervision, after inspectors found Listeria monocytogenes within the company's facility and on its processing equipment.
In 2010, Americans consumed almost 6 billions pounds of seafood. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for ensuring that the nation's food supply, including seafood, is safe, wholesome, and properly labeled. That is a tough task considering 80% of the seafood we eat is imported from countries all over the world. Unfortunately, the reality is that seafood fraud is common. Moreover, it can have not only economic, but food safety, consequences.
On December 12, 2003, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) implemented the Bioterrorism Act of 2002. That Act basically required that companies shipping food to the United States must first be registered with the FDA, and that importers of food must provide "prior notice" to the FDA of any particular shipment before it physically arrives in the United States. Over the past 7 years, has the Bioterrorism Act lived up to its expectations to protect the American consumer from eating dangeously contaminated food?
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for regulating and managing the export and sale of paddlefish roe (caviar). To obtain a paddlefish roe export permit, an applicant must establish that it properly harvested the roe, and that its export would not undermine the survival of the species. But what happens when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has had the application for months, and has taken no action on it?
The United States Congress is considering legislation to make the food we eat, especially imported food, "safe and secure". In my opinion, even if our food needs protecting, the proposed legislation only adds to the current Federal bureaucracy. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration already has a comprehensive regulatory procedure to stop, examine, and refuse imported food which it considers adulterated or misbranded, or otherwise not fit for human consumption. The current FDA system is working very well, and the only achievement of the proposed legislation will be to increase the price of food.