Working Group on Import Safety Releases Progress Report

By

SeafoodSource staff

Published on
July 1, 2008

The safety of imported goods has improved "significantly" since last year, according to a report the Working Group on Import Safety released yesterday.

Titled "Import Safety - Action Plan Update," the report details the progress U.S. and foreign officials and private companies have made to bolster the safety of imported goods, including seafood.

Seafood imports from China have been in the spotlight since last June when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an import alert on five farmed seafood products from China - shrimp, catfish, basa, eel and dace - due to the elevated presence of illegal antibiotics and fungicides.

The interagency group was established by President Bush last July and is chaired by Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt. Last November, the group released its "Action Plan for Import Safety," which called for a risk-based approach to protecting the U.S. food supply, including training foreign inspectors, certifying producers of high-risk foods and allowing for mandatory recalls.

"I am convinced that countries that lead the charge for safety in a global marketplace will prosper as they protect the health and safety of their citizens and effectively facilitate trade," says Leavitt. "I am proud to report that the United States is at the forefront of this charge."

The Bush administration says it will continue to work with Congress to enact the report's recommendations requiring legislation.

The report is available at www.importsafety.gov.

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