FOOD SAFETY, GLOBALIZATION AND EDUCATION, Part I

FOOD SAFETY, GLOBALIZATION AND EDUCATION, Part I

The impact of globalization and the complex business of agriculture today is epitomized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) proposed rules requiring that domestic food importers affirmatively take steps to assure the safety of foreign food imports. On July 26, 2013, the FDA issued proposed regulations mandating that most domestic food importers institute measures designed to assure that foreign foods imported into the United States meet the same quality standards currently in place for domestically grown food.[emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”]
The provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010 (FSMA) required the creation of these administrative rules by the FDA—a task that has taken several years. In fact, these proposed rules represent the first time that the FDA has squarely placed the burden on importers to police the food they import. The rules are complex, even onerous. But food safety is a big issue, which is the reason many domestic growers favor rules governing imports in spite of the bureaucratic involvement of the FDA.
Even though about 15 percent of the domestic food supply is imported, the percentage of fruits and vegetables imported has risen dramatically to nearly two-thirds of those imports. Incidences of food contamination can cripple an entire industry. Witness the tomato, spinach, and lettuce contaminations of recent years. Moreover, illness caused by contaminated foods is an increasing health concern to consumers. Compliance with any final regulations will require a commitment of time and money, but will be necessary given the importance of reducing the public health burden of imported food born illness in the United States.
Next edition, we’ll discuss how a local academy is helping prepare future industry experts for the complexities that globalization has brought to modern agriculture.

CREDITS

column by Doug Lockwood

BIO: A Winter Haven native, Doug received his B.S. degree in 1975 from Duke University and his law degree in 1979 from Stetson University. Doug currently practices in Peterson & Myers, P.A.’s Winter Haven office.
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