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Consumer groups call for safety of imports

Consumers Union * Consumer Federation of America * Free Press

Consumer Groups Call on Congress and Presidential Task Force to Immediately
Address Safety of Imports

Thursday, Aug 2, 2007
Washington, DC—Congress and the Administration need to develop a comprehensive plan to address the onslaught of hazardous imports entering in the U.S., according to Consumers Union, nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine. CU, Consumer Federation of America, and U.S. PIRG submitted a letter today to Congress and President Bush’s task force on import safety detailing their policy recommendations.
“Today’s announcement of the Fisher-Price recall is just another example of why we need to stop hazardous products before they cross our borders rather than rely on woefully ineffective after-the-fact recalls to remove them from homes,” said Donald Mays, Senior Director of Product Safety and Technical Administration for Consumers Union.
The groups asked that greater resources be given to the federal agencies charged with policing the safety of the nation’s products and food supply, including giving all agencies the resources necessary to conduct more inspections and the power to levy meaningful civil penalties for safety violations.
These groups also support efforts to make producers, importers, distributors, and retailers accountable for the products they import and sell in the United States. In comments before the Senate Commerce Committee last month, CU and CFA asked for pre-shipment inspections and testing, and creating a U.S.-based certification program for products, as well as a traceability program for food, products, and their components.
Last month, President Bush assembled a task force to address the safety of imported food and other products.
“The government needs to take steps to prevent unsafe products and food from entering our country,” added Mays. “Industry also needs to own responsibility for what it imports. Safety has to be firmly attached to each link in the supply chain.”
Last year 467 products were recalled in the U.S.—a record-high level. The number of Chinese-made products recalled has doubled in the last five years and accounts for 60 percent of all the consumer-product recalls and 100 percent of the toy recalls this year.
Jennifer Fuson, 202-462-6262
Lauren Hackett, 914-378-2561
For a copy of the letter, click here