The Interagency Task Force set up in June by President Bush, and led by HHS Secretary Michael O. Leavitt, issued a report entitled, “Protecting American Consumers Every Step of the Way: A strategic framework for continual improvement in import safety.”
Consumers Union issued a statement today regarding the report. “The report presents almost no concrete ideas at all about how to deal with the tidal wave of hazardous food and toy imports that the country is currently experiencing,” said Jean Halloran, Director of Food Policy Initiatives. “Vague generalizations about a new strategic framework will not stop lead-painted toy trains or contaminated seafood from entering the United States.”
Consumers Union urges the Task Force to take real action, and recommends the following:
–Increased FDA and CPSC inspectors at the borders. FDA only inspects about 1 percent of the seafood and produce entering the country, and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) only has 15 border inspectors for the millions of consumer products it oversees;
–Require independent third-party certification that imported products meet US standards, overseen by US regulatory agencies; and
–Recall authority for agencies that currently lack it, particularly FDA and USDA.
September 10, 2007