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Imports – Product and Food Safety Megan Wiley and Brad Tobin.

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Presentation on theme: "Imports – Product and Food Safety Megan Wiley and Brad Tobin."— Presentation transcript:

1 Imports – Product and Food Safety Megan Wiley and Brad Tobin

2 Imports - Food and Product Safety2 OVERVIEW Reports of unsafe seafood, pet food, toys, tires, and other products imported over the past year have raised concern in the US over the health, safety, and quality of imported products Numerous recalls and warnings have been issued by U.S. firms Most of the safety questions have centered on China, amplifying longstanding fears about America's growing dependence on Chinese imports as well as concerns over the effectiveness of government regulatory agencies

3 Imports - Food and Product Safety3 OVERVIEW: IMPORTS FROM CHINA

4 Imports - Food and Product Safety4 OVERVIEW: IMPORTS FROM CHINA

5 Imports - Food and Product Safety5 Chinese Authorities Execute 10 Million Recalled Toys SEPTEMBER 24, 2007 BEIJING — In an attempt to assure the world's children that the millions of Chinese-made toys currently being recalled for containing toxic lead paint and tiny choking hazards can no longer hurt them, high-level Chinese officials announced Tuesday that millions of playthings are being rounded up and immediately put to death. (The Onion) SAFETY CONCERNS ON IMPORTS FROM CHINA

6 Imports - Food and Product Safety6 TIMELINE OF FOOD AND PRODUCT SAFETY 1906: Crusading journalist Upton Sinclair's novel The Jungle portrays filthy conditions in meatpacking plants, leading to the Pure Food and Drug and Federal Meat Inspection acts 1930: Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is established 1938: Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act requires FDA to inspect seafood, cheese and other foods 1957: Poultry Products Inspection Act imposes first national regulatory system for food products 1968: President Lyndon B. Johnson establishes Commission on Product Safety 1972: Congress passes the Consumer Product Safety Act, establishing the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

7 Imports - Food and Product Safety7 TIMELINE OF FOOD AND PRODUCT SAFETY 1989: Reagan-era cutbacks shrink CPSC budget by $6.5 million; FDA loses about 1,000 employees 2004: China's share of U.S. consumer product imports grows to $246 billion, a 300 percent increase from : Minneapolis boy dies after swallowing lead trinket.... Value of Chinese seafood imported by U.S. has increased by 375 percent in 10 years 2007: Safety scares halt sales or imports of pet food, spinach, seafood and toys.... Pet owners report thousands of deaths from contaminated pet food.... RC2, maker of Chinese-made Thomas & Friends toy trains, recalls 1.5 million sets.... Mattel announces three successive recalls of products, including Barbie play sets, all made in China.... Lawmakers propose legislation to toughen product-safety regulation and expand the food-safety system.... New Jersey-based Topps Meat Co. closes in October after issuing second-largest beef recall in U.S. history.

8 Imports - Food and Product Safety8 Consumer Safety Oversight: Created by the Consumer Product Safety Act The mission of the Consumer Product Safety Commission is to protect the public against unreasonable risks of injury associated with consumer products. Consumer products are generally all products intended for use by consumers except food, drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, tobacco products, motor vehicles, aircraft, boats and guns. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Under Section 801 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), as amended (21 U.S.C. 301 et seq.), FDA can refuse entry to any food import if it “appears,” based on a physical examination or otherwise, to be adulterated, misbranded, or in violation of the law. FDA inspectors work closely with Customs and Border Protection officials from the Department of Homeland Security Consumer Public Safety Commission (CPSC)

9 Imports - Food and Product Safety9 Consumer Safety Oversight (continued): Department of Agriculture The primary role in the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the safety of imports is played by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Pursuant to the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act, the FSIS administers laws and regulations that ensure the safety of meat, poultry, and egg products imported into the US. APHIS regulates the importation of animals and animal-derived materials to ensure that exotic animal and poultry diseases are not introduced into the United States. APHIS works closely with the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to enforce importation regulations.

10 Imports - Food and Product Safety10 OVERVIEW Three questions: –Does the current regulatory system protect consumers? –Do government agencies need stronger regulatory powers? –Is more funding the answer?

11 Imports - Food and Product Safety11 Current Regulations Most Americans would be surprised to learn the CPSC does not test products before they are offered for sale. It's left to manufacturers, importers and retailers to guarantee that their products meet all mandatory and voluntary safety standards. Generally speaking, imports that fail to meet a mandatory CPSC standard or that present a “substantial product hazard” can be denied entry into the US However, for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to seize products that violate consensus standards, the determination must effectively be made before the products reach the port of entry, which is a rare instance

12 Imports - Food and Product Safety12 Current Regulations The USDA and the FDA cannot recall contaminated foodstuffs. Instead, both agencies work informally with companies to encourage them to initiate a recall. FSIS is responsible for determining the equivalence of other countries’ meat and poultry safeguards. A foreign plant cannot ship products to the United States unless FSIS has certified that its country has a program that provides a level of protection that is at least equivalent to the U.S. system. In addition, FSIS operates a re-inspection program at U.S. border entry points. FDA’s ability to operate within other countries appears to be more limited than that of FSIS FDA can, and does, periodically visit foreign facilities to inspect their operations, but usually in response to a concern and only with the permission of the foreign government.

13 Imports - Food and Product Safety13 Does the current regulatory system protect consumers? The Bush Administration has been asleep at the wheel on child safety. The head of the CPSC should resign!

14 Imports - Food and Product Safety14 Does the current regulatory system protect consumers? Currently, 12 Departments, 34 government agencies and more than 20 House Committees have jurisdiction over the import inspection and control process. This makes the overall process cumbersome, duplicative and unable to handle an increase in the number of imports each year into the US.

15 Imports - Food and Product Safety15 Do government agencies need stronger regulatory powers? By the authority vested in me as President, I hereby order the establishment of an Interagency Working Group on Import Safety. (July 2007)

16 Interagency Working Group on Import Safety HHS, DHS, USDA, Commerce, DOJ, State, DOT, Treasury, EPA, OMB, USTR, CPSC

17 Imports - Food and Product Safety17 Do government agencies need stronger regulatory powers? The Grocery Manufacturers/Food Producers Association and other industry lobbies that normally oppose government regulation have linked arms with pro- regulatory groups like the Consumer Federation of America and the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

18 Imports - Food and Product Safety18 Legislation in Congress CPSC Reform Act of 2007 (Introduced in Senate)[S.2045.IS][S.2045.IS] Import Safety Act of 2007 (Introduced in House)[H.R.3100.IH][H.R.3100.IH] Food Import Safety Act of 2007 (Introduced in House)[H.R.3937.IH][H.R.3937.IH] Food and Drug Import Safety Act of 2007 (Introduced in House)[H.R.3610.IH][H.R.3610.IH] Imported Food Security Act of 2007 (Introduced in Senate)[S.1776.IS][S.1776.IS]

19 Imports - Food and Product Safety19 Is more funding the answer? The Congressional Research Service reports that the FDA's food- safety budget now stands at about one-quarter of its 1971 size The official CPSC budget request for the 2008 fiscal year would require a payroll cut from 420 to 401 employees. Do more resources equal greater effectiveness? Toy Industry Association says that bigger isn’t always better Even consumer advocacy groups have doubts: The Center for Environmental Health believes that current problems at CPSC are not primarily resource problems, but a CPSC bias is to protect the industry Others claim more money is necessary, but not sufficient

20 Imports - Food and Product Safety20

21 Imports - Food and Product Safety21 Summary of Problems Is the current system, with its wide network of government agencies working on import safety issues, effectively keeping US consumers safe? Should industries be allowed to self-regulate, or does government need to expand its regulatory powers? Should more money be spent on import safety regulations?

22 Imports - Food and Product Safety22 Policy Proposals - Domestic Policy proposals from the Interagency Working Group must be implemented (e.g., FDA should have recall authority, stationing inspectors in foreign countries to examine drugs, food, and other potentially dangerous products before they are shipped to U.S. ports Allocate more funds needs to import safety efforts Create a new Import Safety Agency Create congressional oversight committees dedicated to this issue Impact of Implementation in U.S.: Measures would result in safer imports of agricultural goods and products to U.S. markets Reduces liability of U.S. exports abroad

23 Imports - Food and Product Safety23 Policy Proposals - WTO Propose a WTO mechanism to evaluate safeguards imposed in response to food and product safety concerns Impact on trading system: Provides trading system more legitimacy if there is a standardization of food and product safety guidelines Decreases backlash against countries like China which produce cheaper goods (provides legitimacy for their goods) Initiate a WTO system of standards and guidelines for food and product safety including prohibiting use of dangerous materials and toxins

24 Imports - Food and Product Safety24 Works Cited THOMAS U.S. ITC - The U.S. in Trade 2006 Operations in Trade Program WTO- WTO NEWS: 2000 PRESS RELEASES Press/183, 20 June 2000 “Officials examine how to analyze risk for food safety measures” The Onion- “Chinese Authorities Execute 10 Million Recalled Toys” 24 Sept Katel, Peter. "Consumer Safety." CQ Researcher Online 17, no. 36 (October 12, 2007): (accessed November 26, 2007). Congressional Research Service. “Food and Agricultural Imports from China.” July 17, Congressional Research Service. “Health and Safety Concerns Over U.S. Imports of Chinese Products: An Overview.” August 28, The Interagency Working Group on Import Safety, Thomas M. Reynolds Website. “Reynolds Asks Pelosi to Create Special Committee for Import Safety” September 20,


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